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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

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Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting supports pregnant women and families and helps parents of children from birth to age 5 tap the resources and develop the skills they need to raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.

HRSA funds States to develop and implement voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs using models that are proven to improve child health and to be cost effective. These programs help to prevent child abuse and neglect, encourage positive parenting, and promote child development and school readiness. 

All HRSA-supported home visiting programs are:

  • Locally managed – each State chooses the home visiting models that best meet the needs of its own at-risk communities, then supports local agencies in providing the home visiting services to families in their own communities.
  • Voluntary – families choose to participate and can leave the program at any time.

Families that elect to participate in local home visiting programs receive advice, guidance and other help from health, social service and child development professionals. Parents learn how to improve their family's health and provide better opportunities for their children. 

Over time, families and home visitors build partnerships and work together to:

  • Improve health and development.
  • Prevent child injuries, child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment, and reduce emergency department visits.
  • Improve school readiness and achievement.
  • Reduce crime, including domestic violence.
  • Improve family economic self-sufficiency.
  • Improve the coordination and referrals for other community resources and supports.

Congress established the program in 2010 and in March 2014, extended funding through March 2015, building on the initial $1.5 billion investment. 

While decades of scientific research has shown home visiting improves child and family outcomes, the program is the first nationwide expansion of home visiting.

At-A-Glance

Home Visiting Program Overview (PDF - 24 KB)

Home visiting programs:

Serve pregnant women and families with children from birth to age 5.

Focus on families at risk because the parents are younger than 21, low income, live in at-risk communities, have a history of child abuse or neglect or have other factors that can put healthy child development in jeopardy.

Help to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Are proven by scientific research to improve the lives of children and families.

Are administered by States and locally managed.

One Father's Story

father and babyLayla was born 2 years ago, 6 weeks early. She was addicted to methadone and had marijuana in her system. She was moody, had the jerks and would lose her breath. It was very scary. My childhood wasn’t that great but I knew I wanted better for Layla.

But taking care of a baby alone is hard. I didn’t know how to do all those things a baby needs. When I got the call from Catawba Valley Healthy Families asking me if I wanted to join their program, I couldn’t believe it. Here was someone wanting to teach me how to take care of my daughter. And if I was going to have a chance to give Layla a better life, I needed help.

Morgan with Barium Springs has been coming to see us for a while now. She answers my questions about baby stuff.  She brings books for me to read to Layla. She helps me remember all the doctor’s appointments. We work together to make sure Layla is doing things a baby should do at her age.

Today, I have a 2 year old daughter who is healthy and happy. We go to church, go to the park and read stories at night. She’s 2 and doesn’t listen sometimes, but Morgan has showed me how not to get angry. She’s coached me on disciplining Layla the right way. I don’t want Layla to be afraid or get hurt when she gets in trouble like I did.

Jonathan, Burke County, North Carolina 
His name and photo have been changed to protect his privacy, but this father's story is very real. Learn more about the Home Visiting Program at Catawba Valley Healthy Families