Preventing Infant Mortality in Georgia February 2019 - Page 13

Results Matter: Preventing Infant Mortality in Georgia and key informants described their respective TCOY programs as important opportunities to serve women who are at high-risk for adverse maternal health and infant health outcomes in their communities.  Health departments served as critical pathways to TCOY program outreach, enrollment, and services. All three TCOY programs operate in local county health departments. Participants and staff described how this type of safety net setting served as a critical pathway to program outreach, enrollment, and services. Clients learned about the programs by word of mouth and through referrals from other divisions of the health department.  Reproductive Life Planning (RLP) was a successful component of TCOY. Reproductive life planning is the process of setting life goals about whether or not to have children and a time frame for having children. It includes the completion of a Reproductive Life Plan, which enables a woman or man to set personal goals regarding childbearing and family planning. TCOY includes reproductive life planning as a major initiative to address women’s health and preconception health. All TCOY grantees were encouraged to either implement reproductive life planning in their programs or to expand their reproductive life planning activities. Participants from all three TCOY programs reported successful implementation of reproductive life planning. In addition, grantees planned to sustain this program component beyond TCOY.  Breastfeeding support and education were central components of the enhanced maternal care services provided to TCOY participants. Breastfeeding support and education were core services provided to women served through the TCOY Initiative. All program participants discussed the importance of this service, but also acknowledged some difficulties due largely to cultural factors regarding breastfeeding.  Safe sleep messaging was successfully integrated into all TCOY programs. Safe sleep messaging includes information for parents and grandparents about the risks of infant sleep-related deaths. Safe sleep campaigns include recommendations for back-sleeping, firm sleep surfaces, and safe crib bedding. All grantees successfully integrated sleep safety messaging into their programs.  Over time, the Taking Care of You social marketing campaign was recognized and valued by program participants and staff. Throughout the course of the TCOY Initiative, the Emory University evaluation team assessed client and program staffs’ awareness and understanding of the campaign. Of particular interest was whether TCOY had been incorporated as a campaign and message into each of the four grantee communities. Other Key Qualitative Findings that emerged from the qualitative data gathered from TCOY program staff include: 1) Evaluation support was very helpful to TCOY Grantees. Managers and key personnel of TCOY programs were appreciative of the evaluation support provided by Emory University. Key informants indicated that this technical assistance provided program staff with new skills to monitor the performance of their program according to the overall program goals. They also learned the value of using evidence-based strategies for assessing the short- and long-term outcomes of their programs. 2) Staff turnover and funding were key challenges to grantees. Throughout the TCOY Initiative, programs reported staffing shortages and/or turnover, which in turn, affected their program planning. For some programs, these challenges were temporary and were overcome when additional funding was obtained. For others, the lack of appropriate staffing served as major barriers to program implementation. 3) Sustainability is a key goal for all grantees, and staff are working hard to obtain future funding and internal support for the programs to continue. Interviews with key TCOY staff addressed their 13