Home visiting programs match families with para-professionals, known as home visitors, who visit families in their home during pregnancy and throughout early childhood. Home visitors provide information on building supportive home environments, encourage positive parenting practices, and help parent’s access resources that improve child and family outcomes.
The success of home visiting programs is often measured by positive long-term outcomes such as improved school readiness, maternal and child health, and decreases in family violence. These outcomes strengthen families while also producing cost-savings due to reductions in remedial education, healthcare costs, and by improving the self-sufficiency of families.
“We have benefited greatly from this program. Our [home visitor] is extremely helpful and always there to lend a hand, be-it to inform me on what to expect from my child’s growing milestones and to listen to my concerns and just there for emotional support.”— THV Mother
The Child and Family Research Partnership’s analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected from both mothers and home visitors in the Texas Home Visiting (THV) program, shows that other, more immediate positive outcomes are associated with program participation, mostly as a result of a mother’s relationship with her home visitor.
CFRP surveyed approximately 1,700 mothers participating in the statewide THV program to examine families’ experiences in home visiting programs, including the relationship between mothers and home visitors. The majority of mothers surveyed strongly agree that their home visitor provides them with useful information (81.5%), can be trusted with personal information (79.2%), and arrives on time when they have an appointment (78.3%). A smaller, but still substantial share of mothers also strongly agree that their home visitor is a source of emotional support (63.8%).
Furthermore, by understanding a family’s needs, the home visitor becomes a gateway to community resources that address pressing needs, from parent-centered services such as education and employment, to child-centered services such as Early Childhood Intervention and Pre-K. More than three-quarters (78%) of mothers report gaining access to resources in their community as a reason for participating in a home visiting program (43.6% strongly agree and 34.4% agree). Additionally, 75 percent of mothers strongly agree that their home visitor helps them find resources when they have a need. See Figure 1.
Figure 1. Mothers’ Reports on Their Home Visitor
Mothers value their home visitor not only as a provider of important information, but also as a link to community resources. These findings suggest that mothers value their relationships with home visitors across personal, educational, and emotional domains.
“My home-visitor is so special. She has helped me to become a better mother to my son. I learn from her all the time. I consider her a friend and I am able to confide in her and rely on her to help me find resources. I love my nurse and I couldn't imagine going through my pregnancy without her. She gives me encouragement and emotional support.”— THV Mother