What Is Home Visiting?

Early childhood home visiting is a service delivery strategy that matches expectant parents and parents of young children with a designated support person—typically a trained nurse, social worker, or early childhood specialist. Services are voluntary and provided in the family's home or another location of the family's choice.

A two-generation approach, home visiting delivers both parent- and child-oriented services to help the whole family. Although home visiting services differ across models, home visitors typically—

Gather Family Information to Tailor Services

  • Screen parents for issues like postpartum depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence
  • Screen children for developmental delays

Provide Direct Education and Support

  • Provide knowledge and training to make homes safer
  • Promote safe sleep practices
  • Offer information about child development

Make Referrals and Coordinate Services

  • Help pregnant women access prenatal care
  • Check to make sure children attend well-child visits
  • Connect parents with job training and education programs
  • Refer parents as needed to mental health or domestic violence resources

Home visiting views child and family development from a holistic perspective that encompasses child health and well-being, child development and school readiness, positive parent-child relationships, parent health and well-being, family economic self-sufficiency, and family functioning. Discover more in our Home Visiting Primer and Home Visiting at a Glance.

See an in-depth look at home visiting’s long history.