Home Visiting: The Expansion of an Idea 


Investing in home-based services for pregnant women and new parents is a topic of high interest. Of the myriad ways to reach out to young children and their parents, home visiting has surfaced as a uniquely promising approach for promoting the early intervention mission.

These features include:

Reaching new parents in a nonstigmatizing manner: Outside of public education, prenatal and obstetric care are among the most broadly accessed services in the United States. Offering home visiting within a health care framework engages new parents without requiring them to be singled out as facing unique difficulties. Similarly, all parents share a common interest in preparing their children for later learning and insuring they are well positioned to nurture their child’s healthy development and early learning.

Minimizing barriers to accessing service: Accessing any intervention can be daunting, particularly for parents lacking experience and skills in navigating complex service delivery systems. Home visiting helps parents overcome barriers to service access and connects families with appropriate supports in a timely manner.

Individualizing the message: Home visiting providers tailor their messages to fit a parent’s specific knowledge, skills, cultural beliefs, and learning style. Personalizing services is particularly important given the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of a state’s new parent population.

Opportunities to evaluate the home environment and engage other caregivers: Delivering services within a participant’s home offers a unique opportunity to determine the physical safety of a child’s most proximate environment. Repeated home visits allow for a more nuanced assessment of the home’s general stability, relationships among family members, and availability of informal and formal supports.

Since the early 1970s, home visiting programs have proliferated in the United States. They have been promoted as a strategy to engage parents in their young child’s early learning, to insure a new mother and her infant have access to a high-quality medical home, and to address parental and contextual challenges that place a young child at risk for child maltreatment or poor developmental outcomes. Changes to federal policy in 1989 allowed states to use Medicaid dollars to support early home visiting. Over the past 40 years, several states, such as Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia, have used these funds, and state-generated resources, to expand home visiting programs they found promising or establish at least one new parent initiative to support a parent concerned about how she might best care for her children. Federal investments in home visiting also were available through the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). In the 2003 CAPTA reauthorization, voluntary home visiting was identified as one of the core Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) program services included in Title II of the Act.

In 2010, Congress passed the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill provided for a $1.5 billion public investment to assist states, territories, and tribal entities in replicating evidence-based, targeted home visiting programs and building a comprehensive early childhood system to promote the health and safety of pregnant women, children ages 0–8, and their families. This legislation, while dramatically increasing home visiting services across the country, benefited from the early replication work achieved by states, often working in partnership with one or more national home visiting models.

This video provides a visual of how home visiting has spread throughout the country as seen through the lens of five evidence-based home visiting models. These five include four of the oldest and most widely available models in the country (Healthy Families America, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters – HIPPY, Nurse Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers) as well as one of the newer models gaining increased attention (SafeCare). The video does not represent all investments—either state or federal—in home visiting at any point in time. Rather, it illustrates the date at which each model’s current affiliate agencies began enrolling families. Collectively, the video illustrates how these five models have expanded over the years and how communities increasingly gained access to a greater array of home visiting options.The continued expansion of home visiting and the ability to provide families with access to an array of strategies is essential if the approach is to achieve its goal of providing all parents the capacity they need to insure their child’s healthy development and safety.

Source: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

Available at: https://vimeo.com/134656037

Early Essentials: A Six-Part Orientation Series 

Welcome to Early Essentials! The Early Head Start National Resource Center is pleased to present this six-webisode orientation series. These webisodes offer key messages and helpful resources to get staff started with services to the youngest children and their families. They include interviews with experts and strategies and tips from veteran staff. Quick Start Guides provide links to more information.

Webisode Topics and Air Dates

Explore upcoming topics and mark your calendars!

Early Essentials will air the first Wednesday of each month beginning Sept. 3, 2014.

  • Components of Quality: Sept. 3, 2014
  • Building Relationships: Oct. 1, 2014
  • Expectant Families: Nov. 5, 2014
  • The First Three Years: Dec. 3, 2014
  • School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers: Jan. 7, 2015
  • Self-Care and Professionalism: Feb. 4, 2015

Watch this short video to learn more about Early Essentials: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehsnrc/comp/program-design/early-essentials.html  

Stay Connected with #EarlyEssentials

During and after the webisodes, we encourage you to share your thoughts and comments on Twitter! Use #EarlyEssentials to participate in the chat.

Who Should Watch?

Use these materials on your own or in orientations and trainings with staff. They are great for new staff and those looking for a refresher. This series will benefit an array of audience members, including: direct service staff who are new to work with expectant families and infants, toddlers, and their families; staff who want a refresher on important messages in their work; and managers designing orientations or staff trainings.


You may send your questions to ehsnrcinfo@zerotothree.org or call toll-free 1-877-434-7672. Sign up to receive information and resources about Early Head Start.

Source: Early Head Start National Resource Center and the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehsnrc/comp/program-design/early-essentials.html

Dads Matter

Spending time together should start early. We all know moms’ and dads’ lives are forever changed when a child comes into their world. Babies who get lots of warm and positive attention from their dads feel more secure. Father involvement is linked to positive cognitive outcomes for a child and father involvement in pregnancy is linked to a reduction in infant mortality.

That’s why text4baby – through its free text messaging service – is launching new messages for expecting fathers and fathers with babies under the age of 1. These three messages contain critical information and tips on how to improve child health and safety, ways to engage with your baby and how to support a mother’s health.

New messages also reinforce how moms can support dads in their role as a parent. Moms can encourage dads to sign up or dads can sign up themselves and their friends by texting BABY or BEBE for Spanish to 511411. When you sign up, enter the baby’s date of birth so that you get the appropriate messages for you and your baby.

Click here to read a Fathers Day blog from the White House about these new dad-specific messages.

Source: text4baby

Available at: https://text4baby.org/index.php/miscellaneous/374-dads-matter 

via text4baby – Dads Matter.

Sensitivity, Screening, and Support: Talking with Expectant Families about Substance Abuse


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are the leading known cause of mental retardation, and they are entirely preventable. This audio conference discusses the chance Early Head Start staff working with expectant families have to help prevent FASDs. Panelists share insights and strategies about approaching this sensitive topic. They also give guidance on supporting families in making informed, healthy choices around alcohol use during pregnancy.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehsnrc/Early%20Head%20Start/early-learning/assessment/SensitivityScre.htm

A Father-To-Be Is Ready For His New Role. For The Most Part. Maybe.

Aaron Peck is the husband of Baby Project mom Lucy Peck, and the father of soon-to-be-born Dexter. He shares his thoughts on impending fatherhood.

What does a father-to-be do to ready himself for impending doom fatherhood? This isn’t where I come up with some poignant answer — I’m truly asking. What in the bleeding blazes do I do?

Source: NPR

Available at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/babyproject/2011/07/20/138482260/a-father-to-be-is-ready-for-his-new-role-for-the-most-part-maybe?sc=fb&cc=fp