ABSTRACT

Research on home visiting has blossomed in recent years as home visiting programs have become an increasingly popular way to deliver services to vulnerable families. This expansion is partially due to the establishment of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which contributes funding to home visiting programs that are backed by solid scientific evidence of effectiveness (i.e., evidence-based) (Rodrigue & Reeves, 2015). Early Head Start (EHS) home visiting is one of the most prominent home visiting programs, but—as with most home visiting programs—research tends to find only small to moderate effects of the program on child and family wellbeing. More recently, researchers have focused their efforts on the quantity and quality of home visits to try to isolate the essential components that promote positive family outcomes (Raikes et al., 2006; Roggman et al., 2008). Nonetheless, home visiting approaches, including EHS, remain somewhat of a “black box” given programs’ diverse approaches for home visiting delivery. This chapter explores how home visiting supports vulnerable families, provides an overview of the EHS home visiting approach, reviews current research on the effectiveness of home visiting, and identifies what research tells us about under which conditions EHS is most effective. In the following chapter, we extend these ideas to explore how family life education methodology or Certified Family Life Educators as home visitors could effectively address the need for a consistent and enhanced evidence-based curriculum to EHS HV.