As requested by the Legislature, Washington state’s Home Visiting Advisory Committee — consisting of home visiting providers, advocates, state agency partners and other allied professionals — recently outlined an ambitious path to strengthen the state’s home visiting system. Submitted to the Washington state Legislature and the Department of Children, Youth and Families, this plan makes essential recommendations to improve equity in the home visiting system, ensure a skilled and sustainable workforce and expand home visiting access to additional families.
Many of the recommendations identify strategies that are within the Department of Children, Youth and Families’ administrative power to implement while others will require additional investment from the Legislature.
A comprehensive overview of the recommendations is available on the Department of Children, Youth and Families website. In summary, the recommendations focus on the following areas of improvement:
Promote Equity: Washington must support a range of home visiting programs that meet the needs of diverse communities; ensure parent, community and provider voice is embedded in decision-making; and recruit and retain a workforce representative of families served.
Strengthen the Workforce: Home visitors have continued to provide essential supports to families, yet the workforce is under tremendous stress with higher than usual attrition in the past two years. The recommendations include investing in wages – including addressing racial and positional wage disparities; increasing access to professional development; and assessing home visitor caseloads and administrative burden.
Systems Improvements: To create a stable, sustainable and scalable home visiting system, the recommendations include completing a cost study to inform contracting to better reflect the true cost of the service; funding adjustments that promote equity; and streamlined data strategies.
Start Early Washington supports the recommendations submitted by the Home Visiting Advisory Committee. We are committed to working with our public and private sector partners to create comprehensive implementation plans with a strategic direction to build an equitable home visiting system that supports children and families in Washington state.