Parents struggling to figure out how to pay the bills, buy food, and afford medicine are under incredible pressure. Such high-stress demands can make the challenging task of parenting even more difficult and overwhelming—putting children at greater risk for learning disabilities, behavior problems, developmental delays, and health problems.
Home visiting programs are designed to mitigate those risks. They pair families with trained professionals who provide parenting information, resources and support throughout their child’s first few years. Research has shown that high quality home visiting programs can increase children’s school readiness, improve child health and development, reduce child abuse and neglect, and enhance parents’ abilities to support their children’s overall development. For example, programs like the Nurse Family Partnership have shown a:
- 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect
- 56% reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings
- 67% reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems at child age six
Programs provide a range of home-based services to expectant or new parents. Home visitors may be professionals such as nurses or social workers or they may be trained outreach workers. Services vary by program and may include providing prenatal support, educating parents about child development, promoting positive parenting practices, encouraging and supporting parents; ensuring families have a medical provider, and connecting parents with services for their children and themselves.