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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 at-risk parents of children from birth to kindergarten entry tap the resources and hone the skills they need to raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.

HRSA, in close partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), funds States, territories and tribal entities 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 improve maternal and child health, prevent child abuse and neglect, encourage positive parenting, and promote child development and school readiness. 

ACF administers the Tribal Home Visiting Program, which funds 25 American Indian and Alaska Native organizations to develop, implement and evaluate home visiting programs that serve Native children and their families.

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.

What Home Visiting Achieves

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

Home visits may include support for preventive health and prenatal practices such as helping mothers find suitable prenatal care, improve their diets, and reduce use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal substances. Home visitors can assist mothers through all stages of pregnancy and beyond, providing support to mothers learning to breastfeed and care for their babies. In addition, home visitors may provide health and development education for mother and child by helping parents understand child development milestones and behaviors and promoting parents’ use of praise and other  positive parenting techniques. Home visitors may also work with mothers to set goals for the future, continue their education, and find employment and child care solutions.  

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.

Serving Families and Communities

HRSA-supported State Home Visiting Programs report they have provided more than 1.4 million home visits since 2012 and, in FY 2014, they served approximately 115,500 parents and children in 787 counties in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and five territories. 

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.

State Fact Sheets

115,500 at-risk parents & children in every State, DC & five territories in FY 2014

Learn how the Home Visiting Program is helping at-risk families in each State, including home visits made, parents, children and communities served, and evidence-based models used. Go to Home Visiting State Fact Sheets

See The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Partnering with Parents to Help Children Succeed (PDF - 137 KB) for national program data and information.

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