Policy Priorities

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Home Visiting Programs

Early childhood home visiting programs provide voluntary, in-home services to expectant mothers and families with infants and young children. Trained home visitors, who may be nurses, social workers, early childhood education specialists, or other trained paraprofessionals, meet with families in their homes to advise them on their children’s health and development.

Home visiting programs are beneficial to both children and parents. In addition to providing information on childhood health and development, these programs connect families to a broader range of community services and supports. Many studies have found that quality, evidence-based home visitation services produce measurable outcomes for children and families, such as better health, greater school readiness, academic achievement, parental involvement and economic self-sufficiency, and reduced child maltreatment, injuries, and juvenile delinquency. Overall, home visiting programs provide preventative services that help to enhance the quality of life for children and families.

The comprehensive national health reforms enacted in early 2010 established the Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which creates a $1.5 billion five-year federal grant program for voluntary quality evidence-based home visiting programs. The Early Childhood Home Visiting Program gives priority to those who are most vulnerable, including low-income families, pregnant women under the age of 21, families with histories of abuse and/or neglect, families with a history of substance abuse, children with low educational achievement and/or developmental delays or disabilities, and families who have a member in the Armed Forces or have had multiple deployments outside the country.

CDF supports voluntary quality evidence-based home visiting programs. By providing parents with knowledge, skills, and resources related to child health and development, home visiting programs improve the outcomes for vulnerable children and help to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life.