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Illinois Home Visiting Caregiver and Provider Feedback Project

Recommendations for strengthening supports for caregivers and providers across Illinois’ home visiting system

November 17, 2023
  • Policy and Systems
  • Blog
  • Publication
  • Resource

Enrollment and retention data have long suggested the home visiting field could do more to meet the needs and desires of families, and workforce data point to challenges finding and sustaining a highly-qualified workforce. Start Early’s Illinois Home Visiting Caregiver and Provider Feedback Project used an organic, mixed-methods approach to understand what families and providers see as needed improvements to the home visiting system, and from this input, created precise recommendations.

The findings of this multi-year project carry significance for programs, model developers, researchers, systems leaders and policy makers. By actively engaging with the recommendations, leaders at all levels can ensure that resources are optimally allocated and can drive transformative change, paving the way for a more responsive, equitable and effective system that uplifts families and nurtures the healthy development of young children.

We encourage members of the home visiting field – including funders, model developers, researchers, program leaders, home visitors, and family participants – to read this report and identify the levers for change that they can act upon to strengthen and improve how the home visiting system supports caregivers and providers.

For questions about this report, please reach out to

Key Recommendations

National Models

  • Create curriculum, program materials, and use language that is more inclusive and representative of all caregivers, including gender non-conforming or non-binary caregivers, male caregivers, and caregivers who are not parents.
  • Embed and allow for more individualization in service delivery to meet families’ needs; prioritize new and strengths-based measure of the quality and effectiveness of programs, such as parental efficacy and length of retention.
  • Reduce educational requirements and create additional flexibilities for programs to hire individuals without a Bachelor’s degree, including developing guidance for how to hire former parent participants, in order to address vacancies and to reflect competency-based skills.


Federal Agencies & Funders of Home Visiting

  • Coordinate federal funding streams and offer states added guidance on braiding across different sources (e.g. Head Start/Early Head Start, Title IV-E, TANF, Medicaid, etc.) for more efficient state home visiting systems. The Office of Head Start and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) should coordinate on allocation of funding, funding timelines and program requirements to ensure that state systems are able to plan around the braiding of these funding streams.


Illinois Agencies & Funders of Home Visiting

  • Identify opportunities to extend and individualize services to engage a broad array of family needs and desires, including creating cross-model guidance on enhancements and modifications for priority populations.
  • Align funding mechanisms and administrative requirements to alleviate the burden on programs, including streamlining data collection, compensation, monitoring and other requirements.
  • Increase supports for programs surrounding workforce recruitment and retention, including implementing cross-funder compensation targets, hiring supports including sample job descriptions, pay differentials for bilingual staff.
  • Increase access to supports including infant and early childhood mental health consultation.