Home visiting is a voluntary service designed to ensure that families with young children have the supports and resources they want and need to thrive. They aim to strengthen caregiver-child relationships; promote maternal, infant, and early childhood physical, mental, and emotional health; and link families to community resources and services through cross system collaboration.
The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) presents an opportunity to strengthen prevention efforts like home visiting and to expand them to more families. FFPSA is federal legislation that reorients child welfare towards prevention and seeks to reduce the use of foster care. Since we know the power of home visiting in preventing child welfare involvement, bringing it to scale could be critical in fulfilling Family First’s goal. Many states are centering their Family First prevention plans around voluntary home visiting, and some are creating pathways for families to access these services in their communities, without child welfare involvement.
In a new brief, experts from Start Early and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago outline ways to scale up home visiting capacity through Family First. The brief explores key opportunities that have been identified as Family First is implemented and provides recommendations to strengthen collaboration between child welfare and home visiting programs at the federal, state, and local levels, including:
- Scale Up Home Visiting for Additional Capacity
- Partner and Collaborate Across Child Welfare & Home Visiting for Collective Impact
- Implement Home Visiting to Model Fidelity
- Orient Philosophies and Policies around Prevention
- Support a Diverse Community-based Workforce that Meets Families’ Needs
Center Family Engagement
At the 2022 National Home Visiting Summit hosted by Start Early, there was a strong emphasis on the connections between home visiting and FFPSA. The focus on Family First at the Summit reflects the interest across the country to further lean into systems partnerships between home visiting and child welfare agencies to create structural conditions that provide access to supports without stigma or blame. In this way, we can acknowledge and address the inequities that harm children and families of color and lead to further disparities and disproportionate representation in the child welfare system. Read the full report.
Learn more about Start Early’s resources and learning opportunities for the home visiting field.