The Benefits of Home Visiting to Children, Families, and Taxpayers

Decades of research have shown that home visiting can yield significant benefits for children, families and taxpayers. But program details and quality matter, greatly affecting whether or not programs yield positive results.

Three recently released commissioned studies provide new details about the benefits — and limitations — of home visiting programs as they relate to participating families and taxpayer return on investment.

These studies show the importance of continuing to measure and monitor the outcomes of even evidence-based programs. Doing so is critical to supporting continued effectiveness and improvement as programs expand to new settings and populations. The reports focus on rigorously evaluated impacts of home visiting.

  • School readiness: Researchers from the State University of New York-Albany found that home visiting has significant positive impacts on the school readiness of children entering first grade. Download the executive summary and full report.
  • Lasting effects: An analysis of follow-up data from families who received home visits as part of the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project found that greater involvement in home visiting when the child was an infant and toddler predicted better child developmental status in pre-kindergarten, better outcomes when the child was in fifth grade, and more stimulating and nurturing home environments in both pre-k and fifth grade. Download the executive summary and full report.
  • Child maltreatment and neglect: In a randomized controlled evaluation of the Healthy Families Massachusetts program, researchers from Tufts University found that some (but not all) subsamples of the families in the state program showed higher rates of child maltreatment and neglect than families not enrolled in the program. The authors speculate this may be the result of surveillance bias; that is, because families were participating in the program, incidents of maltreatment were more likely to be reported than they would be for non-participating comparable families. The researchers also found evidence that maternal depression may block program effectiveness. Download the executive summary and full report.

The studies were commissioned by Pew and made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. These findings are exclusively the work of the commissioned researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pew or the other funders.

Visit the entire body of commissioned research online.

About FSA

Home visitation & parent education programs providing a continuum of quality, research-based, & curriculum driven services to support families & children prenatally through age 5.
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