What is Home Visiting?

Working alongside families to lay the foundation for children and success of the entire family

Home Visiting Helps Improve Maternal Health Outcomes

The CDC has reported that approximately three in five pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.

Contributing factors can be categorized at the community, health facility, patient, provider, and system levels. Evidence-based home plays a unique role at the intersection of all these areas.

Home visiting programs impact maternal mortality and morbidity in several specific ways.  Notably, these programs:

  • create connections between mothers and health practitioners in the community, breaking down barriers to care and strengthening the link between healthcare resources and the families who need them;
  • create human-to-human relationships that enable home visitors to provide supports based on the very specific needs of each family;
  • provide screening in maternal depression both prenatally and postpartum, and connect mothers in need with appropriate community-based interventions;
  • provide referrals for mothers when certain risk factors, including trauma or domestic violence, are present in the home;
  • target the social determinants of health affecting families, such as social support, parental stress, access to health care, income and poverty status, and environmental conditions.

There are clear maternal health benefits in home visiting. Home visiting studies demonstrate reductions in pregnancy induced hypertensive disorders, pre-term birth, and maternal depression.

Home visitors also provide regular support in the form of trained professionals that meet a mother where she is in order to ensure that both she and her young child thrive.  Through empowerment and education, home visiting builds resiliency in mothers facing a variety of adverse circumstances that affect their health in the perinatal period and into their child’s early years, thus creating opportunities to impact positive changes for families.

Home Visiting Strengthens Families And Communities

While it’s true that children don’t come with instruction manuals, most parents do in fact have internalized guidelines to follow – even if they have never so much as changed a diaper. The “manuals” are written in memories of their own childhoods and reinforced by the expectations of communities, the proverbial village it takes to raise a child.

Parental love is powerful. But that love also needs the nurturance of a community to help children fully flourish and thrive. Challenges arise when the communities that new parents have to count on are harmed by policies and inadequate resources that continue to exacerbate the conditions of poverty and lack of access to needed supports and services that many families face. This is where home visiting comes in.

Home visiting programs pair families looking for additional support and mentoring with trained home visitors such as nurses, social workers, and educators. Home visitors meet and work with families in their homes, from pregnancy through their child’s kindergarten entry. Home visiting helps to lay the foundation for the health, education, development, and economic self-sufficiency of the entire family. Visits by caring, experienced professionals who provide families support and connections to needed resources and services can help families leverage their strengths so they can thrive.

Home Visiting Programs Support The Healthy Development Of Children And Families

Improving The Families' Physical And Mental Health

Home visiting programs improve the physical and mental health of participating families by showing families how to best care for their children and themselves. Home visiting programs help children and families access quality health care and resources to improve birth outcomes and ensure children born into poverty have a healthy start. Take a look at just some of the research on the extensive impacts home visiting can have for children and families.

  • Nurse-Family Partnership participation reduced preterm delivery for women who smoke by 79% (Nurse-Family Partnership).
  • Healthy Families America families had 22% fewer birth complications. Galano, J., & Huntington, L. (1999). Evaluation of the Hampton, Virginia, Healthy Families Partnership: 1992-1998. Center for Public Policy Research, The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg,VA.

Partner With Parents

Home visiting programs partner with parents to support children’s education and achievement by engaging parents in their child’s educational future and supporting parents’ educational endeavors.

  • 85% of HIPPY kindergartners were rated as “ready for school” by their kindergarten teachers (Johnson, et al., 2012).
  • Children participating in Child First were 68% less likely to have language problems than the control group after 12 months (Lowell, et al., 2011).

Home Visiting Programs Create Economic And Social Benefits For Families And Communities

Promoting Economical Self-Sufficiency

Home visiting programs empower families to become economically self-sufficient by helping parents pursue career opportunities and providing support to help parents stay healthy and productive.

  • 31% of Nurse-Family Partnership clients in MIECHV who began without a high school diploma or GED had attained one by the time their child turned 12 months old (Nurse-Family Partnership, 2015).
  • Healthy Families America mothers were five times more likely to be enrolled in school or training than mothers in a control group (Lecroy & Krysik, 2011).

Help Keep Families And Communities Safe

Home visiting programs help keep families and communities safe by promoting positive parenting practices and supporting parents in times of high stress.

  • Nurse-Family Partnership reduced child abuse and neglect by 48% and reduced emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings by 56% (Olds, et al.,1997).
  • Parents As Teachers participation was related to 50% fewer cases of suspected abuse and/or neglect (Drazen & Haust, 1993).
  • SafeCare reduced recurrence of child maltreatment by 26% compared to typical child welfare services (Chaffin, et al, 2012)

Cost Savings For Taxpayers

Home visiting programs enjoy bipartisan support because of their demonstrated cost savings for taxpayers.

  • The Nurse-Family Partnership has a benefit-cost ratio of up to $5.70 per dollar invested (Karoly, Kilburn, & Cannon, 2005).
  • Family Connects has a community benefit-cost ratio of up to $3.01 per dollar invested (Dodge, et al., 2014).
  • Parents As Teachers has an estimated benefit-cost ratio of $3.39 per dollar invested (Washington Institute for Public Policy, 2015).