Depending on the Relief Nursery program, home visits may be a monthly parent-child activity with the child's classroom teacher, two or three supervised visits weekly as children begin the transition back to their parents' care, or intensive, short-term weekly or even daily in-home services through family preservation and strengthening activities.
Home visitors help parents who are experiencing challenges such as poverty, unemployment and lack of transportation to find resources and develop skills to keep their children safe, to become self-sufficient and to build healthier relationships.
Parents often greet their home visitor at the door, excited to share the milestones their children have met and eager to receive the valuable information the visitor provide. During each visit, the home visitor shares age-appropriate activities for the parent and child to enjoy together, such as piecing together wooden puzzles, making cutouts with homemade play dough, or sharing a favorite story. Activities are designed to help children get ready to start kindergarten.
Through education, modeling, and practice, home visitors and parents work together to build and maintain stable and attached families.
The home visitor also works with the parent to identify potential safety hazards, such as choking risks, accessibility of dangerous items, and unsafe family members, and discusses strategies to prevent harm. Offering education and suggestion to the high-risk parents we serve in their home environments has proven to be a successful strategy toward reaching Family Tree’s mission of keeping children safe and families together.
Families receiving prevention services through home visitation programs saw the number of child-related emergency room visits decrease by 50%.
Long-term Effects of Home Visitation on Maternal Life Course and Child Abuse and Neglect: Fifteen-year Follow-up of a Randomized Trial. David L. Olds; John Eckenrode; Charles R. Henderson Jr.; Harriet Kitzman; Jane Powers; Robert Cole; Kimberly Sidora; Pamela Morris; Lisa M. Pettitt; Dennis Luckey. JAMA. 1997;278(8):637-643.