Building Upstream Interventions to Keep Families Together in Hennepin County, MN

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Hennepin County Office of Enterprise Analytics
Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute

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Like many communities in the U.S., the Twin Cities metropolitan area has become increasingly vocal around social justice—exposing and documenting local poverty, inequity, and discrimination. Amid this wave, Hennepin County is actively seeking out population health policy opportunities to engage high-risk families and children, with the goal of developing and implementing upstream, cross-sector interventions to preserve unified, healthy families and avoid out of home placements (i.e., foster care).

Previous scholarship has primarily focused on children already in the foster care system, and there is little known about how to identify and support families before out of home placement occurs.

To fill this gap, the research team will link datasets across Medicaid, human services, public health, criminal justice, and corrections to look at a population of Hennepin County families that experienced the out-of-home placement of a child aged 0-5. The analysis will use descriptive evaluation and predictive modeling techniques to better understand the demographic characteristics and patterns of service utilization of children and families in the five years prior to out of home placement, and to uncover the strongest predictors for out of home placement.