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The MOMS Partnership® Model

Launched in New Haven, Connecticut in 2011, the MOMS Partnership® was founded as a coalition of community partners, working together to address the needs of women facing economic hardship. Over the years, MOMS Partnership has become a recognized program model -- with core principles, interventions, and strategies – that is primarily delivered to women who are pregnant or caregiving to children (up to age 18) and who are experiencing economic hardship.

Since its inception, the MOMS Partnership model has focused on supporting maternal mental health as a critical element in the pathway to economic and social mobility for under-resourced families. Fueled by the power of two-generational and community-based approaches, MOMS utilizes these approaches to develop and adapt programming. MOMS engages with partners to systematically learn – through processes of research and evaluation – how to provide supportive services in ways that are meaningful and relevant to the community served.

Under stewardship of Elevate Policy Lab in the Yale Child Study Center, the MOMS model has been implemented in diverse communities and settings in the U.S. and in collaboration with government and non-government partners alike.

The MOMS Partnership Core Principles

Respect for a defined population
MOMS Partnership participants are adult caregivers who identify as women and have acknowledged mental health needs. Participants may include pregnant women and mothers or other adult caregivers of children under the age of 18.
Respect for mental health as an intergenerational anti-poverty strategy
The MOMS Partnership understands family mental health as a pathway to social and economic mobility for the whole family. MOMS offers parenting supports and group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that has been reworked for the needs of families.

Scroll down to learn more about our interventions.

Respect for social capital

The MOMS Partnership believes in the power of social support. MOMS interventions are delivered in group settings where participants experience empathy through connection with other moms.

In addition, MOMS is co-delivered by a licensed clinician and a Community Mental Health Ambassador (CHMA)—a mother from the local community who has joined the paid MOMS staff and who can accompany participants on the journey to improved well-being.

Respect for the local community

The MOMS Partnership is:

  • Community-driven. Programs are based on needs and preferences of pregnant women, moms, and other adult caregivers as they express them.
  • Community-partnered. Formalized agreements with community agencies allow the MOMS Partnership to implement programmatic activities, and to do so in a manner informed by these agencies’ expertise.
  • Community-engaged. Participants as well as community agencies are continually involved in providing feedback and guidance to refine the program.
Respect for time and place

The MOMS Partnership offers programs in locations and at times that are most convenient for participants, including grocery stores, recreation centers and libraries. At these neighborhood hubs, moms receive resources like free diapers and shampoo to cover basic needs and incentivize participation, and mothers also have the opportunity to connect to other social services.

Respect for impact

The MOMS Partnership focuses on achieving outcomes that move the needle on adult depression, adult education and employability and child well-being. Informed by both survey and administrative data, Elevate taps data analytics to understand impacts across generations. This data is coupled with regular feedback from participants, who help fine tune the program for future MOMS cohorts.

The MOMS Partnership® Interventions

Stress Management

The core intervention of the MOMS Partnership® model is the MOMS Stress Management Course (SM). MOMS SM is an evidence-based program that is grounded in principles and techniques of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)—a well-established, highly effective treatment for depression and anxiety, and other mental health concerns. MOMS SM includes 8 group classes (about 90-minutes each), that are delivered to small groups of participants, either in person or virtually (through a live-online, video meeting platform). The classes take an accessible and active learning approach, with digestible didactic content mixed with discussion, exercises, and practice.

The overarching goal of the course is to help participants acquire skills for mood management—skills that have been shown to decrease stress, depression, and anxiety, and other mental health-related symptoms. MOMS SM classes are typically co-delivered by a mental health clinician and a community health worker known as a Community Mental Health Ambassador (CMHA) in the MOMS model. MOMS SM is a manualized course that was originally adapted from The Mother and Babies Course by Muñoz and Le (2011) for the population of (English-speaking, New Haven) mothers served by the MOMS Partnership in its foundational years. Since then, MOMS SM (English) has undergone multiple refinements, and new cultural-linguistic adaptations have been produced in Spanish and Chinese.

Parenting D.A.N.C.E.

Parenting D.A.N.C.E. is an 8-week parenting program open to mothers and other primary caregivers of children 0-12 years old. DANCE involves 6 group sessions and 2 individual sessions, during which mothers receive video feedback that highlights positive examples of key parenting skills. Participants learn ways to strengthen their relationship with their child, as well as parenting skills for managing children’s (and their own) emotions better.

Goals and Needs Assessment

The work of the MOMS Partnership ® is based on needs and preferences of pregnant women, moms, and other adult female caregivers in a family as they express them. Work in each potential MOMS site begins with learning deeply about – and directly from--- mothers in the community.

The MOMS Partnership Goals and Needs Assessment (GNA) asks women to share information about their goals, the challenges they face as they raise their families, their current sources of support, and what support and services they find useful. With feedback from partner agencies and community members themselves, the GNA is adapted for every site, to surface the needs of mothers in each new community. The data generated from a GNA helps to identify risk factors or sources of stress that MOMS can help to address, pointing the MOMS team towards optimally refining the program model. By highlighting the need for services in specific areas, the GNA can also help determine where MOMS could locate community hubs.

To date, the MOMS Partnership has interviewed more than 4,000 women. Together, we’ve designed truly responsive programming, meeting the needs of mothers where they are.

Findings from Six Sites

Mothers, pregnant women, and adult female caregivers in five MOMS sites participated in GNAs in their communities: Bridgeport, Connecticut; Burlington, Vermont; Louisville, Kentucky; New Haven, Connecticut; and New York City, New York. Additionally, in Washington, D.C., there has been a broader research effort — including parents and caregivers of any gender— that served as an equivalent of the GNA.

Click for a PDF of the findings.