Competent, Caring Staff Crucial to Program Success

December 8, 2014 11:04 PM

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Among the hundreds of programs that scholar Ron Haskins examined for his persuasive new book on social policy, one stands out in his mind: a home visiting initiative in Texas that sends nurses to visit teenage girls who are pregnant or new mothers. In this program, the nurses and girls often develop close bonds. Those bonds, he realized, helped explain why girls in the program were more likely than other girls to seek prenatal care for their newborns and use contraception in order to prevent another pregnancy.

Home visits, he told me, show promise. Like some other initiatives of the President Obama administration that he details in his book, they have not yet been proven scientifically to produce significant results consistently. More testing needs to be done. But, said Haskins, formerly a senior advisor ...

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