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Family Engagement in Home Visiting Is a Systems to Practice Matter

January 2, 2020
  • Family Engagement
  • Professional Development
  • Blog

In this blog post, home visiting expert and former Start Early vice president for training, Janelle Weldin-Frisch, MA, explains the importance of bridging the gap between systems in the home visiting sector through the use of professional development.

Intensive, long-term home visiting services are proven to produce the best outcomes for families and help prepare children for school. Understanding the factors that keep families engaged in these services has given rise to research, training and evolved program requirements. And yet, sustaining family engagement is still often regarded as the primary responsibility of the home visitor. Family engagement is an impossible task alone for even the most highly skilled a home visitor. Strong partnerships at the systems, community and practitioner levels all impact what happens between a family and their home visitor.

At this year’s National Home Visiting Summit, I’ll be sharing a case study of two state leaders that are partnering across systems to strengthen the outcomes of each of their programs. In my session – Bridge Gaps between Systems with Professional Development – I’ll explore how this strategic collaboration can be replicated with other state and system leaders, to improve outcomes across the sector.

Some of the factors impacting family engagement include reliable program funding, competitive salaries for home visitors and supervisors, and access to professional development. With the turnover rate of home visitors exceeding 20% annually, it is critical that system leaders construct a professional development framework to support and retain home visitors and supervisors. In the example shared during the session, we will explore how the two state leaders leveraged a professional development resource – The Essentials of Home Visiting – to develop and implement a PD framework for their home visitors and supervisors. The Essentials of Home Visiting, an online professional development program with unique learning experiences created specifically for home visitors and supervisors, includes self-paced courses, webinars, and tools for supervisors to increase their impact on home visitors, and improve their outcomes with families.

Ensuring that home visiting practitioners have the organizational, supervisory and professional development supports to keep them engaged in the field, are essential factors in promoting family engagement between home visitor and parent.

Janelle Weldin-Frisch, MA, was the vice president for training at Start Early during her twenty-seven year tenure. She continues in a consulting capacity to facilitate a national community of practice for professional development in home visiting, cultivate strategic partnerships and provide state and regional leaders with technical assistance in the use of The Essentials of Home Visiting.