Early Steps to School Success

Early Steps to School Success (ESSS) builds strong foundations for parenting and school readiness in communities with limited resources. The model aims to help provide children with the skills necessary for success in school; empower parents with the knowledge and skills to support their children’s education; strengthen the connection between the home, school, and community; and significantly increase early childhood knowledge and skills in communities.

What is the model’s approach to providing home visiting services?

Home visits take place twice a month until a child is 3 years old. ESSS recommends that families begin services prenatally, but they can enroll any time before the child is 2 years old.

ESSS’ service population includes the following:

  • Expectant caregivers
  • Families with low incomes
  • First-time caregivers
  • Caregivers under 21 years old
  • Caregivers with limited access to education

Who is implementing the model?

Home Visitors

ESSS was implemented by 153 home visitors in 2020. The model requires a high school diploma or GED and experience working with families and children for home visitors; an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and experience in home visiting and child health and/or development are recommended. Home visitors are required to maintain a caseload of 20 children.


ESSS was implemented by 21 supervisors in 2020. The model requires a bachelor’s degree and experience in early education, child health and/or development, home visiting, staff supervision, and working with families and children for supervisors; a master’s degree is recommended.

Where is the model implemented?

ESSS operated in 118 local agencies across 9 states in 2020.


Families Served Through Home Visiting in 2020

home visits provided
including 28,675 virtual visits
families served
children served

Caregiver age

10% ≤21 years

44% 22-29 years

41% 30-44 years

5% ≥45 years

Caregiver education

15% No HS diploma

45% HS diploma or GED

24% Some college or training

16% Bachelor's degree or higher


20% Hispanic or Latino

80% Not Hispanic or Latino

Child age

20% <1 year

53% 1-2 years

27% 3-5 years

Primary language

84% English

14% Spanish

1% Another language

Household income

91% Low-income status

9% Not low-income status

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.