Home Visiting Works!
Home Visiting programs connect pregnant women and parents/caregivers with young children with a support person—typically a trained nurse, social worker or early childhood specialist. Quality home visiting programs, such as ours, help parents provide safe and supportive environments for their children, and over time, families and home visitors build strong relationships that lead to lasting benefits for the entire family.
The benefits of home visiting programs include:
Moms and babies are healthier. During and after pregnancy, home visiting programs promote maternal health by helping mothers schedule regular doctor’s visits, improve diets, reduce stress levels, and quit smoking or substance use. Babies benefit as well. One study found that mothers who participated in a home visiting program were half as likely to have a baby born low-birthweight, which greatly reduced these babies risk for health and developmental problems.
Children are better prepared for school. Home visiting programs promote positive parenting practices that help parents better prepare their children for school. Parents learn about developmental milestones and fun activities that help baby learn and grow. Research shows parents enrolled in home visiting programs are more likely to have a safe play environment at home, provide age-appropriate books and engage children in structured teaching activities. Home visiting programs have also demonstrated long-term, positive impacts on children’s academic achievement.
Children are safer. Home visiting programs are associated with reduced rates of child maltreatment and injuries. In one program, children of participating families experienced 40 percent fewer injuries between the ages of 2 to 4, and they were 35 percent less likely to visit an emergency room compared to children not enrolled. Mothers who participate in home visits also have lower stress levels and increased sensitivity during interactions with their children.
Families are more self-sufficient. Mothers with higher levels of education work more hours, have higher family income levels and provide more cognitively stimulating home environments for their children. Participating in a home visiting program leads to higher rates of enrollment and more hours spent in educational or training programs.
Home visiting programs save money. The short- and long-term benefits of home visiting programs largely outweigh the overall costs incurred from implementation. RAND found that high-fidelity home visiting programs for at-risk families have a $5.70 return for every tax dollar spent from reduced spending for health care and welfare services. Another study of a home visiting program in Durham, North Carolina reported saving $3.00 for every $1.00 spent on the program during an infant’s first 6 months due to reduced emergency care visits.
Research shows that evidence-based home visiting programs help children and families get off to a better, healthier start, and can be cost-effective in the long run by increasing family self-sufficiency and lowering healthcare costs.
Child & Family Research Partnership, The University of Texas at Austin, 2021
National Home Visiting Resource Center, 2019