Policy Factsheet

Home Visiting Programs

Reasons for Policy

  • Socially disadvantaged children are more likely to be exposed to multiple stressors in the home such as, noisy and poor quality homes, chaotic family life, have fewer books, and less simulating home environments.1
  • Socially disadvantaged parents are more likely to have mental health problems, less consistent, less stimulating, and more punitive parenting behaviors, less likely to show affection to their children, and more likely to feel like they have less social support.1
  • These social and developmental deficits have been shown to have effects on children throughout their lifetime.1

Community Groups

  • Local Government
  • Local Public Health Department
  • Non-profits/Community Organizations

Policy Components

  • Frequent visits (e.g. weekly or bi-weekly)
  • Provide age appropriate information about child development and care
  • Provide age appropriate resources (e.g. books, puzzles, art materials)
  • Provide general support about parenting or child development to the parent

Desired Outcomes

  • Greater maternal sensitivity
  • Create and maintain an academically stimulating home
  • Improved cognitive development of children
  • Improved parent/child relationship
  • Reduction in home stressors and punitive parenting behaviors

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 1: Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

  • On average, home visitation programs can achieve a 15% improvement in maternal behavior.2

Community Examples

Links to Policy Examples

Be sure to check with your state, county, and municipal governments regarding potential existing laws that may impede any new policy development.


  1. Miller S, Eakin A. Home based child development interventions for pre-school children  

  2. from socially disadvantaged families. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD008131.  

  3. Nievar, M. A., & Van Egeren, L. (2005). More is better: A meta-analysis of home visiting programs for at-risk families. Online Submission, Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) (Tampa, FL, Apr 24-27, 2003). Retrieved from www.eric.ed.gov.  

  4. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.