ERIC Number: ED449909
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Brighter Babies, Stronger Families: How Home Visitors Help Families Grow Together. An Ounce of Prevention Fund Paper.
Noting that parents often receive little support during their child's first weeks and months, this paper discusses how voluntary home visiting for families with young children can help provide parents of all educational, economic, and cultural backgrounds with the information, advice, and support they need in their new role. The paper notes the importance of the early years for brain development, early relationships with parents and other caregivers, and development of confidence. The report presents evidence that new parents lack confidence about caring for their infant and seek support and guidance. The role of the home visitor is discussed, including ways in which home visitors build on the natural capacities and interests of a family and how they break the isolation often felt by new parents. Evidence from longitudinal studies is presented regarding the effectiveness of home visiting related to healthy child development, parent-child bonding, parental self-sufficiency, and its cost-effectiveness relative to intervention and treatment services for child abuse. Characteristics of successful home visitor programs are outlined: (1) voluntary; (2) relationship-based; (3) focused on the parent-child relationship; (4) culturally responsive and respectful; and (5) tailored to fit each family's situation and strengths. Myths about home visiting related to parents' rights, privacy, the nature of parenting, and dependency on government programs are also addressed. The report concludes by asserting that creating networks of home visiting programs nationwide can ensure that families with young children have the support and tools they need to be the best parents they can be. (KB)
Descriptors: Early Experience, Early Intervention, Family Programs, Family (Sociological Unit), Home Visits, Infants, Parents, Program Descriptions
Ounce of Prevention Fund, 122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 2050, Chicago, IL 60603-6198; Tel: 312-922-3863; Fax: 312-922-3337.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ounce of Prevention Fund.