Background: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program was created by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. MIECHV provides comprehensive services to at-risk families through evidence-based home visiting programs.

Purpose: The following question is addressed: Does the Missouri MIECHV system meet the definition of a complex adaptive system (CAS)?

Methods: A systematic review was conducted of documents related to MIECHV programs (federal, state, and local levels), and to affiliated programs with a home visiting and early childhood (aged birth to 5 years) scope. The organizations’ fit was identified for the scope of early childhood home visiting programs, and then its relationship extracted to MIECHV and its affiliates.

Results: MIECHV meets the definition of a CAS, being dynamic, massively entangled, scale independent, transformative, and emergent. Over 250 organizations were identified; 19 federal and 79 state organizations; 24 nonprofits at the federal level, 31 at the state; over 150 community-level agencies; and 13 home visiting models implemented in Missouri.

Implications: A considerable amount of organizational complexity exists within the MIECHV system and among its affiliates with a home visiting and early childhood scope. The complexity of the system challenges its potential for effective and efficient implementation, coordination, sustainability, and evaluation, and increases the potential for redundancy, overlap, and fragmentation. Evaluating a CAS requires acknowledgement of its complexity, beyond traditional approaches to evaluation. Creating visualization tools of federal, state, and local stakeholders and their relationships is a practical approach for aligning, organizing, and communicating the work flow.

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