Linking urban families to community resources in the context of pediatric primary care

Patient Educ Couns. 2010 May;79(2):251-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.10.011. Epub 2009 Dec 4.


Introduction: Pediatric guidelines emphasize the importance for healthcare providers to view children in the context of family and community, and promote community resources at visits. In 2006, a Family Help Desk (FHD) was established in an urban academic-based clinic in Baltimore, MD to assist healthcare providers in educating families about available community-based resources.

Methods: A longitudinal cohort pilot study was conducted during a 6-week period in 2007 to evaluate the impact of the FHD in connecting at-risk families to community resources.

Results: Overall, 6% of parents (n=59) who brought their child for a scheduled clinic visit accessed the FHD. Parents had a mean of 1.7 social needs, including after-school programs and childcare (29%), employment (13%), housing (12%), and food (11%). Most parents who utilized the FHD (64%) contacted a community resource or service within 6 months of their clinic visit. Nineteen parents (32%) who utilized the FHD enrolled in community programs.

Conclusion: A clinic-based multi-disciplinary model can empower families to connect with community-based resources for basic social needs.

Practice implications: The Family Help Desk model has great potential for addressing family psychosocial needs, and educating families about community resources within the context of pediatric primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Baltimore
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Patient Advocacy*
  • Pediatrics
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care
  • Social Welfare*