Director, Pew Home Visiting Campaign
February 10, 2012 — Voluntary home visiting matches parents with trained professionals to provide information and support during pregnancy and throughout their child’s early years. On February 16-17, 2012, the Pew Center on the States is co-sponsoring a research summit on the quality of home visiting programs and services, along with Every Child Succeeds and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Pew Home Visiting Campaign Director Libby Doggett discusses the goals of the conference and how it will help accelerate advancements in the field.
Q:What is the goal of the National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs?
A: The Summit will bring together researchers, policy makers, practitioners and advocates to determine how our country, our states and our local communities can build better systems to improve society’s capacity to nurture families.
We hope attendees to this two-day event will learn about the latest developments in home visiting, and strategize together about how to ensure that our investments in home visiting are supporting programs that work.
Q: What innovative ideas will be highlighted?
A: We’ve got an exciting line-up of speakers from around the country. Sessions will feature diverse topics such as fathers, blended funding strategies, monitoring child and family outcomes, and linking home visiting programs to early childhood systems. We’ll also be encouraging our participants to share their Summit observations and insights with their social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be tweeting from @pewstates. The Summit hashtag is #HVSummit.
Q: Quality is in the title. What are key strategies for improving quality that the Summit will showcase?
A: We know from our own survey of home visiting programs in all 50 states that prior to the federal funding for MIECHV (Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program), most home visiting funding was not adequately tracked at the state level. Too few dollars were spent on programs with a proven record of success. Quality was lacking. At the Summit, we’re showcasing how that’s changing. A number of sessions will feature how states and local programs are tracking family and child outcomes, and making sure dollars follow the research.
Q: What exciting “on the ground” stories are you expecting from states?
A: A number of states are leading the country in expanding and improving their home visiting systems. We’ll feature three states--Massachusetts, Maryland and Ohio--that have just won National Race to the Top Early Childhood Challenge grants. They’ll tell us how they plan to fit home visiting into a comprehensive early health and early education system.
It is exciting to see that we are expanding the range of partnerships and resources we mobilize to do this work—and that we are starting to achieve higher quality and consistency in our home visiting programs.
Q: States are using creative methods to fund home visiting. What are some that will be highlighted at the Summit?
A: Programs are braiding, blending, and cobbling together money from multiple public and private, federal, state and local sources to fund services for children and families. Few programs have all the funds they need, and all are looking for ways to maximize funding. One session will feature a new report by Pew and the National Academy of State Health Policy that describes how a handful of states are using Medicaid to fund some home visiting services. When well implemented, voluntary home visiting is a program that we know can provide up to $5.70 in returns for every tax dollar spent.
For more information about the Summit, visit homevisitingsummit.org.