Why Home Visiting?
The evidence base for home visiting, including its cost effectiveness, is strong and growing. Below are examples of home visiting's demonstrated impact on critical needs and why home visiting is a key service strategy for improving infant, maternal, and family outcomes.
Home visiting has measurable benefits.
By meeting families where they are, home visiting programs have demonstrated short- and long-term impacts on the health, safety, and school-readiness of children; maternal health; and family stability and financial security. Home visitors are able to meet with families in their home and provide culturally competent, individualized needs assessments and services. This results in measured improvements in the following outcomes:
Home visitors work with expectant mothers to access prenatal care and engage in healthy behaviors during and after pregnancy. For example—
- Pregnant participants are more likely to access prenatal care and carry their babies to term.
- Home visiting promotes infant caregiving practices like breastfeeding, which has been associated with positive long-term outcomes related to cognitive development and child health.
Safe Homes and Nurturing Relationships
Home visitors provide caregivers with knowledge and training to reduce the risk of unintended injuries. For example—
- Home visitors teach caregivers how to “baby proof” their home to prevent accidents that can lead to emergency room visits, disabilities, or even death.
- They also teach caregivers how to engage with children in positive, nurturing ways, thus reducing child maltreatment.
Optimal Early Learning and Long-Term Academic Achievement
Home visitors offer caregivers timely information about child development and the importance of early childhood in establishing the building blocks for life. For example—
- They help caregivers recognize the value of reading and other activities for early learning. This guidance translates to improvements in children’s early language and cognitive development, as well as academic achievements in grades 1 through 3.
Home visitors make referrals and coordinate services for children and caregivers, including job training and education programs, early care and education services, and— if needed—mental health and domestic violence resources. Research shows that—
- Compared with their counterparts, caregivers enrolled in home visiting have higher monthly incomes, are more likely to be enrolled in school, and are more likely to be employed.
Home visiting is cost effective.
Studies have found a return on investment of $1.80 to $5.70 for every dollar spent on home visiting. This strong return on investment is consistent with established research on other types of early childhood interventions.