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Communities of Practice

The National Home Visiting Summit’s Communities of Practice are focused on developing peer learning communities dedicated to the most pressing issues in the home visiting field.

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The National Home Visiting Summit’s Communities of Practice will utilize the learning group’s collective knowledge and experience to promote broad practice, policy and systems change/knowledge building. Each community includes a group hosted on Early Childhood Connector, providing members with the ability to share resources and continue conversations between meetings.

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Communities of Practice

We are excited to announce three separate communities. Each will focus on one of the following topics:


This community of practice on advocacy focuses on providing state and national advocates with sound policy information and outreach strategies to promote greater state and federal investment in effective home visiting services for children and families in need across our nation. As an integral component of advocacy, this community delves into policy issues that cross innovative financing mechanisms, a broad range of policy arenas, such as health, early childhood, anti-poverty and child welfare, among others, and outreach strategies to engage federal, state and local policymakers.

The Community Focuses on Such Topics as: 

  • Promoting a broad range of funding sources for the expansion of home visiting services, such as Medicaid, TANF, and innovative financing mechanisms, such as pay-for-performance initiatives and tax policies
  • The intersection between child welfare policy and home visiting, including opportunities for the expansion of home visiting to the child welfare and similar populations through the Family First Prevention Services Act
  • Cultural and linguistic responsiveness of home visiting programs to provide effective services to diverse children and families
  • Understanding and messaging the national evaluation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to conduct outreach to policymakers and others
  • Pay-for-Performance initiatives in home visiting as a mechanism to finance expanded services and secure greater private and public funding for home visiting


  • Carol Brady, Maternal Child Health Advocate, Brady and Associates
  • Kayla Goldfarb, Policy Specialist, Start Early

Recent Meetings:

Aug. 27, 2020
Making the Case for Home Visiting: Action You Can Take Now 
Amanda Guarino, of the First Five Years Fund, provided an update on the proposed COVID-19 relief package which includes funding for home visiting training and family support. The Senate has refused to act on the proposed bill. Strategies for encouraging civic engagement among program participants and home visiting staff were offered by Parent as Teacher’s Lisa Foehner. Voter registration is an integral part of Parents as Teacher’s  advocacy efforts. Communities of practice members also discussed their work to encourage participation in the Census and to support parent leadership development.

June 23, 2020
State Advocacy in the Time of COVID-19
The group focused attention on strategies to protect state investments in home visiting in the face of pandemic-related revenue shortfalls. Alison May, of the National Council of State Legislatures, provided a scan of state budgets and potential cuts to early childhood services. State advocates Amy Zaagman, of Michigan, and Sophie Phillips, of Texas, described their efforts to proactively address revenue shortages.

April 16, 2020 
Advancing Home Visiting During COVID-19
The group highlighted tools and strategies developed to address the pandemic. Sarita Rogers, Deputy Director of Programs for the Children’s Trust, shared specific stories of how home visitors in Massachusetts found creative solutions to continue serving their families during this time. She provided engaging photos of families participating in home visiting, as well as their comments on the value of services. Policy Expert, Kay Johnson also shared how states are using Medicaid to fund critically needed health services, and how COVID-19 aid could shape the future of Medicaid funding.


Home visiting stakeholders work hard every day to improve practice, research, and policy in ways that enhance outcomes for young children and their families. At times, success is compromised because efforts are disconnected. Network principles can help.

Network scientist Jane Wei-Skillern, Ph.D. encourages us to focus on:

  • Mission, not organization. As leaders, we adopt strategies and tactics to achieve our overall mission, not necessarily to stimulate the growth of any one organization or domain.
  • Node, not hub. As partners, we see each of our organizations as part of a larger web of activity targeting our cause, not as a hub of isolated action.
  • Humility, not brand. Our organizations work alongside our peers as equals and are willing to take a back seat when other partners are in a better position to lead.
  • Trust, not control. Trust and shared values guide how we interact and create an environment that maximizes our collective impact.

The Network Weaver Community of Practice focuses on shared learning among home visiting leaders about how working collaboratively can help expand the reach and impact of home visiting.

History of the Network Weaver Community of Practice

This community of practice, launched at the 2020 National Home Visiting Summit in response to feedback and a follow-up survey after the 2019 Summit plenary session The New Network Leader: How You Can Grow Your Impact. The Advisory Committee of the National Home Visiting Network is guiding this Community of Practice to advance and support the use of a network mindset in home visiting.

Ideal Audience

Anyone who has ever:

  • Worked with a family that is served by more than one program…
  • Found themselves competing for families to enroll, or funding to sustain services, or a place “at the table”…
  • Wondered what it would be like to check titles (and attitudes!) at the door and come together to work toward a shared vision for all young children and their families…

How to Get Involved

Sign up for Network Weaver emails or direct questions to Melissa L. Kelley, Facilitator, National Home Visiting Network.


  • Melissa L. Kelley, Co-Facilitator, National Home Visiting Network
  • Deborah Roderick Stark, Co-Facilitator, National Home Visiting Network
  • Dr. Miriam Westheimer, Co-Facilitator, National Home Visiting Network

Recent Community Meetings

August 17, 2020
Mission, Not Organization
Marty Kooistra, network practitioner and Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, and Melissa Kelley, facilitator of the National Home Visiting Network hosted this community meeting focused on Mission, Not Organization. During this meeting the facilitators take a close look at the principle as community members hear from Jeanna Capito, Home Visiting Model Alliance Facilitator on how Rapid Response Virtual Home Visiting has applied this principle to practice.


The community of practice on professional development will provide community-based program and state leaders, policy makers and researchers a forum to engage about professional development within the home visiting field. This community explores facets of professional development to promote research-based and promising practices by practitioners and supervisors that advance their professional effectiveness. It also explores state level strategies and national initiatives that promote professionalism of the home visiting workforce. Membership in this community offers a venue for new connections to leaders in home visiting professional development. It also encourages members to add their expertise to an ongoing national discourse and to collaborate between webinars to endeavors that advance home visiting professional development.

This community of practice also interacts via a LinkedIn Group.

Join Now 

Areas of focus include:

  • Dimensions of professional development including classroom and web-based training, coaching/mentoring, technical assistance and continuous quality improvement.
  • Research efforts that shape and inform home visiting professional development.
  • Innovations, initiatives and resources in professional development that advance practice and professionalism of the home visiting workforce.


  • Janelle Weldin-Frisch, President, Prairie Learning Options

Recent Meetings

July 30, 2020
COVID-19 Impact on Professional Development.
We explored the impact of COVID-19 on technical assistance and CQI along with identifying consideration and factors for readiness for successfully engaging learners in virtual forms of professional development.

May 27, 2020
A Look Back and Ahead
COVID-19 update. We shared strategies related to support of home visitors and supervisors in their work with families.