What is Home Visiting?
Evidence-based home visiting programs recognize parents are children’s first teachers, but sometimes even parents and others raising children look for help. Far too many of Pennsylvania’s youngest children live in poverty and experience poor education and health outcomes. Voluntary home visiting programs help parents and others raising children with the supports necessary to improve health, safety, literacy and family self-sufficiency. During home visits, nurses or other trained professionals visit with women, families and children – some as early as pregnancy to promote positive birth outcomes – to provide parent education and support, ultimately promoting child health, well-being, learning and development.
In 2020, six evidence-based home visiting models were operating in Pennsylvania using public (state and/or federal) and private funds to support their programs. Each model has distinct characteristics and meets families’ unique needs in different ways:
- Early Head Start (EHS) – Nurtures healthy attachments for low-income families parenting infants and toddlers, and for pregnant women and their families, through intensive comprehensive child development and family support services.
- Family Check-Up® (FCU) – Supports strategies to better engage parents and parent-centered intervention for reducing problem behaviors in children from toddlers through adolescence.
- Healthy Families America (HFA) – Strengthens families by promoting positive parenting, enhancing child health and development, and preventing child abuse and neglect.
- Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) – Pairs first-time, low-income pregnant women with nurses to improve pregnancy/birth outcomes, child health and development, and family economic self-sufficiency.
- Parents As Teachers (PAT) – Builds the capacity of parents to understand and support optimal healthy child development, develop effective parenting practices that strengthen the family foundation, and promotes school readiness.
- SafeCare Augmented® – Aims to prevent and address factors associated with child abuse and neglect through motivational interviewing and additional training to identify and respond to imminent child maltreatment and risk factors.
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Does Home Visiting Work?
Evidence-based home visiting is a research-proven tool to support the development and safety of our most vulnerable children and their families.
The term “evidence-based” refers to home visiting models whose services are proven effective by research with evidence that supports a child’s healthy development. Information related to each home visiting model’s evidence has been evaluated and documented within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) review at http://homvee.acf.hhs.gov.
Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs can lead to improved family health, help establish early literacy habits, support families in working toward economic security, and introduce positive parenting practices that can reduce child abuse and neglect. Not only do evidence-based home visiting programs benefit the families and communities they serve, but they are also a smart public investment. For example, RAND found Nurse-Family Partnership returns as much as $5.70 for every tax dollar spent from reduced spending for health care and other human services when serving high-risk populations.
What is Childhood Begins at Home?
An initiative of Early Learning PA, Childhood Begins at Home is a statewide campaign to help policymakers and the public understand the value of evidence-based home visiting and support public investments in the programs. Since 2017 when the campaign began, we have won funding increases more than doubling the state investments. This has helped serve many more Pennsylvania families, yet it represents only a fraction of those who could benefit the most.
Governing Body Members:
Children’s Advocacy of Lawrence County
Columbia County Family Center
Family First Health
Greater Nanticoke Area Family Center
Mabel Morris family Home Visit Program
Maternal Family and Health Services
Mission Readiness/Ready Nation
National Association of Social Workers Pennsylvania Chapter
National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, a PHMC affiliate
PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
PA Family Support Alliance
Philadelphia Nurse family Partnership
Prevent Child Abuse PA
The Foundation for Delaware County
Union City Family Support Center
United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County
UPMC Home Care Management Services dba Nursing Agency Community