Strengthening family engagement and retention in home visiting programs are crucial for supporting positive lifelong outcomes for children and families. Here’s a peek at some of the things we are learning about ways to enhance family engagement and retention:
Increased Communication and Check-Ins: Regular and open communication keeps families engaged and connected. Frequent check-ins, whether through phone calls, text messages or virtual meetings, allow home visitors to stay in touch with families, offer support, and address any concerns or challenges families may face.
Flexibility and Individualization: Recognizing that each family has unique needs and circumstances, programs can offer flexible approaches and individualized support. What works for one family may not work for another, so tailoring services to meet families’ specific needs and preferences is fundamental for engagement and retention.
Personalized Celebrations and Surveys: Personalized cards or small gifts to celebrate milestones or achievements demonstrate that the program values and acknowledges the families’ progress. Surveys are also helpful to understand the evolving needs of families and gather feedback to improve program effectiveness.
Engaging Multiple Family Members: Involving various family members during home visits can create a sense of collective support and shared responsibility for the child’s well-being. Engaging parents, grandparents, or other caregivers welcomes input from multiple perspectives.
Flexibility in Scheduling and Locations: Offering flexibility in scheduling home visits and meeting locations can help accommodate families’ unique circumstances, reducing barriers to access. This approach acknowledges that families have busy lives and varying constraints.
Group Connections: Providing opportunities for families to connect in group settings can foster a sense of community and support. Group activities or events can also be beneficial for sharing experiences, learning from one another and reducing feelings of isolation.
Rotating Locations: Rotating locations for connections across the county or service area can help meet families where they are, making support more accessible and inclusive for families.
By investing in the quality of relationships between home visitors and families and implementing strategies that address families’ specific needs and preferences, home visiting programs can successfully promote family engagement and retention.
The above information stems from our Continuous Quality Improvement work with home visiting programs during FY23. To learn more about how home visiting transforms lives, we invite you to explore our work in Washington state.