After Training, Home Visitors Maintain and Improve their Skills
A previous study showed that home visitors in Healthy Families America home visiting programs improved their relationships with parents and supervisors after an 18-month training in the Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN) approach. This study was conducted to see whether home visitors and supervisors maintained the changes observed in their practices at 6 and 12 months after training ended. The study showed that home visitors in the follow-up study maintained all of the changes in their FAN skills in their practices at the end of the 18 month training. In addition, they continued to improve their skills after training in three areas: maintaining a focus on parenting, reading parents’ cues for engagement, and encouraging parents to lead visits.
What We Did
The follow-up study was conducted with 27 home visitors and 11 supervisors (N=11) from eight of the nine programs who had received the FAN training and were still at the programs that participated in the first study. We administered surveys and standardized measures to all participating staff at 6 and 12 months after the end of training and conducted in-depth interviews with some of them to supplement the quantitative findings.
What We Found
Results indicated that home visitors in the current study maintained all of the changes in their FAN skills observed in their practices at the end of the 18-month training.
In addition, they continued to improve their skills after training in three areas: maintaining a focus on parenting, reading parents’ cues for engagement, and encouraging parents to lead visits. These may be skills that home visitors perceived as particularly important or found easier to maintain over time.
Supervisors continued to improve their ability to act with awareness and ability to support visitors’ use of the FAN over time.
What It Means
Home visiting programs face a number of challenges in engaging and serving families in high-risk communities while also developing and retaining skilled home visiting staff. Training in the FAN approach was designed to address these needs. Results from this study indicated that the FAN is relevant to home visiting practice and is able to be sustained over time.
Supervisors were particularly important in supporting the use of the approach by home visitors and sustaining it over time. This suggests that prior to investing in training, efforts should be made to assess supervisors’ understanding of the FAN approach and commitment to learning and implementing it in their program, as well as program staff’s time for training and readiness for change.
The follow-up study did not assess family or child outcomes. More study is needed to learn whether these changes in relationships and home visit dynamics improve family engagement in home visiting programs and strengthen the parenting context for child development.
Follow-up study Final