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May 2009Vol. 10, No. 4State-Based Home Visiting Programs

Many States support home visiting programs as a means of providing education and support to expectant or new parents, especially those at risk for poor outcomes. The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) recently surveyed States to find out about their support for home visitation programs and whether such programs are meeting families' needs. Of the 46 States that responded, 40 reported having one or more established State-based home visiting programs. The survey also elicited information about the programs' structure, financing, and design.

States noted two key strategies for improving the effectiveness of their home visiting programs:

  • Improve linkages and offer a seamless continuum of services
  • Improve the quality of home visiting through such activities as improved staff training, better data collection, and enhanced evaluation

The full survey results are presented in a report that also includes findings from a roundtable discussion of experts on home visiting. In addition, the report highlights programs in two States: Maine's universal home visiting initiative and Virginia's Home Visiting Consortium. Finally, the report offers a number of recommendations for States to improve home visiting programs, including:

  • Support better services across programs by coordinating multiple visiting programs, linking to other service systems, integrating ways to serve high-risk families, and maximizing multiple funding streams
  • Strengthen services within home visiting programs through deliberate program design, staff training and development, and continuous quality improvement
  • Develop strategies for national and State leadership that includes research, legislation, funding, and evaluation efforts

State-Based Home Visiting: Strengthening Programs Through State Leadership, by Kay Johnson, is available on the NCCP website: (4,003 KB)