Home Visiting in the Family First Context

Exploring ways to strengthen collaboration between home visiting and child welfare

Home visiting programs are voluntary services designed to ensure that families with young children have the supports and resources they need to thrive. The Family First Prevention Services Act presents new opportunities to strengthen prevention efforts and expand the reach of home visiting programs to more families. Many states are centering their Family First prevention plans around voluntary home visiting, and some are creating pathways for families to access these services in their communities, without child welfare involvement.

This brief is an outgrowth of the 2022 National Home Visiting Summit hosted by Start Early, where Chapin Hall Executive Director Bryan Samuels moderated a panel discussion with state child welfare leaders in three jurisdictions that are focusing their Family First prevention approach around home visiting. Drawing more than 750 participants, it reflects the interest across the country to further lean into partnerships between home visiting and child welfare to create structural conditions that benefit families and provide access to supports without stigma.

After the plenary session, more than 200 practitioners engaged in a peer-to-peer exploration of emerging opportunities, challenges, and innovations related to home visiting in the Family First context. This brief, a joint effort of Chapin Hall and Start Early, summarizes insights from the plenary session and workshop and provides recommendations to strengthen collaboration between home visiting and child welfare at the federal, state, and local levels, including:

  • Scale Up Home Visiting for Additional Capacity
  • Partner and Collaborate Across Child Welfare & Home Visiting for Collective Impact
  • Implement Home Visiting to Model Fidelity
  • Orient Philosophies and Policies around Prevention
  • Support a Diverse Community-based Workforce that Meets Families’ Needs
  • Center Family Engagement

Creating a shared vision and theory of change for using strengths-based home visiting services to realize the prevention intent of Family First has the potential to transform how the U.S. supports and empowers families. This shift could be monumental and planning strategically together now makes this possibility more achievable.

Yasmin Grewal-Kök, Clare Anderson, Anna Gurolnick, Charlotte Goodell, and Clinton Boyd all contributed to this report. Chapin Hall experts are often invited to moderate or participate in high-level summits and signature events as they bring extensive experience from working in and with government agencies, national and community nonprofits, state and local governments, and prestigious universities.

For more information, contact Yasmin Grewal-Kök.

Read the brief