Home visitors are frontline staff from local agencies who work with families in their homes or another location. They are nurses, social workers, early childhood specialists, or paraprofessionals trained to conduct home visits with pregnant caregivers and families with young children.
Local agencies(Source: Local agencies are usually housed in a central location and serve families in nearby communities. They may also employ staff who provide administrative, data entry, or data management support. Local agencies are operated by state and local government offices, such as departments of health, human services, or education, as well as schools and school districts, hospitals and health clinics, Indigenous organizations, nonprofit organizations, and faith-based organizations.)Go to footnote #>1 strive to employ home visitors who can foster connections with families and develop trusting relationships. Educational requirements vary across local agencies and models. The Model Profiles provide more detail about educational requirements at the home visitor and supervisor levels.
What Do Home Visitors Do?
Among their many responsibilities, home visitors—
- Gather information to tailor services, such as screening caregivers for postpartum depression, substance use, and domestic violence or screening children for developmental delays
- Provide direct education and support to make homes safer, encourage positive parenting practices, promote safe sleep practices, and inform participants about child development
- Make referrals and coordinate services such as prenatal care, well-child visits, job training and education programs, early care and education, and if needed, mental health or domestic violence resources
What Do Supervisors Do?
Supervisors work with home visitors to promote their professional and personal growth. For example, they help home visitors reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and challenges to improve their practices with families. They help manage caseloads, ensure staff responsibilities are completed, and sometimes provide services to families directly.
Using Federal Funds to Keep Families Connected
In 2021, administrators of Colorado’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program set out to maintain and strengthen connections between families and home visitors in difficult circumstances. Using money provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), they funded a full-time Nurse-Family Partnership nurse, enhanced home visitor support, and offered recruitment and retention incentives to families. Home visiting sites also bought equipment to support virtual visits. “[ARP] funds were essential for us because we could provide families with equipment that supported communication, as well as hotspots and data cards, says Colorado Department of Early Childhood MIECHV Program Administrator Rebecca Dunn. The need was especially great for families living in rural and frontier areas like the San Luis Valley.