News Articles

Home Visiting Programs Work: Here’s the Proof

Child Abuse & Neglect
Early Childhood
Poverty & Family Economics
Racial Equity

The Chronicle of Social Change

By Karen Howard


As a career advocate for children, I applaud Los Angeles County’s innovative efforts to reduce child abuse by integrating public health nurses into its child protection assessment process.

At First Focus Campaign for Children, a non-partisan national children’s advocacy group, we support the county’s forward-thinking efforts, but also encourage county officials to expand evidence-based home visiting programs, which have been proven to prevent child maltreatment and promote resilient, strong families that nurture the healthy development of children.

Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs around the country pair over-burdened pregnant women and mothers – who are typically single, poor, minority and young from communities of concentrated disadvantage – with specially trained nurses, social workers, and other professionals, who come to their homes to help them access prenatal care and other health services. These include assistance with enrollment in nutritional, housing and other critical programs needed to ensure their babies get the best start possible.

Home visitors are not just care coordinators; they play a vital role in working one-on-one with mothers to improve their parenting skills, strengthen their support and coping systems, and promote their infant’s healthy development so that they become their child’s first and most important educator.

The program also helps …

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