Family StEPS: Starting Early with Psychosocial Support

Published on in CHOP News

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) offers a rare breadth of psychosocial care services for pregnant parents and those with young children. The CHOP Family StEPS (Starting Early with Psychosocial Support) program is an initiative focused on developing a comprehensive and unified process for all families receiving fetal and early childhood care at CHOP. The goal is to provide consistent physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and social health supports to help families thrive in the face of extraordinary challenges.

As patients and families transition between fetal and early childhood programs, the Family StEPS initiative will streamline care and unify our process of assessment, intervention and referral. Our hope is that this dedicated approach will increase access to psychosocial care services and better address the well-being of expectant parents and parents of young children through all the steps of their care journey, from pregnancy through early childhood.

Step by StEPS

Step 1: Determine best practices for psychosocial support processes across all clinical areas.

Step 2: Establish a unified process for psychosocial access, assessment, intervention, and/or referral, and streamline procedures as families transition care across fetal and early childhood areas.

Step 3: Integrate this unified process into all fetal and early childhood clinical entities across CHOP with the goals of teaching and training staff in psychosocial determinants of health, disseminating program findings, and establishing a strategy that could allow replication of the program at other institutions nationwide.

Step 4: Evaluate the effectiveness of psychosocial support services across programs and develop a patient and family tracking system to evaluate the impact of increasing access to care.

Step 5: Build a research and training program that collaborates across programs and create a trainee/new staff pipeline by leveraging existing CHOP resources.

Our goal is to create a unified approach, so we deliver the same quality and consistency of psychosocial care to expectant parents and families with young children every step of the way. — Andrea Duncan, MD, MS, Family StEPS Clinical Chair.

Examples of current services include:

Family StEPS program leadership team

Andrea Duncan, MD Andrea Duncan, MD, MS
Clinical Chair
Attending Neonatologist
Medical Director, Neonatal Follow-up Program
Associate Division Chief of Diversity and Inclusion, Division of Neonatology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Joanna CM Cole, PhD, PMH-C Joanna CM Cole, PhD, PMH-C
Associate Clinical Chair
Clinical Psychologist
Manager, Psychosocial Programs, Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine


Next Steps

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