Supporting families with children during their early years with home visiting services can reduce the economic burden on taxpayers. By improving maternal and child health, increasing child safety and reducing maltreatment, promoting child neurodevelopment and school readiness, and increasing father engagement and family self-sufficiency, we can reduce downstream costs associated with maltreatment and other trauma early in life.
These life-altering services transform the trajectory for Texas families with young children and help support parents as they experience challenges every parent faces. Whether a first-time mom, a family experiencing economic hardship, new fathers, young parents, or a single parent, family support home visiting services can help provide a foundation during the earliest and most critical years of a child's development, setting children and parents up for a life of health, education, and success.
Through mentorship and coaching of trained nurses, parent educators, family support providers or other early childhood professionals, parents are able to learn new skills we often take for granted - in the safety and comfort of their home. By removing barriers - physically and emotionally - parents and their children can focus on being engaged and ready to learn. The power of home visiting is in the approach of meeting families where they are.
Video property of the Texas HHSC Texas Home Visiting Program
Decades of research has repeatedly demonstrated the positive impact a variety of home visiting programs have across the lives of parents and their children. By building healthy, trusting, and long-lasting relationships, "home visitors" are able to connect and refer families to a much larger network of resources and services such as access to high quality child or respite care, mental health services or concrete resources. As a result, the benefits are both immediate and long-lasting, changing the future for families and the communities in which they live and work.
While home visiting is not a silver bullet and cannot prevent all horrific incidences of child abuse in our state, it is one of the only proven inoculations protecting families from child maltreatment. The following outcomes have been seen across a number of programs:
Our children and families are worth the investment in home visiting. Children are our most valuable and precious resource - and our future. Children are our future workforce, future leaders and caregivers. And children should be provided the opportunity to reach his or her potential to thrive. Family Support Home Visiting programs also save the state, country, and taxpayers money. For every dollar invested in evidence-based programs, they can provide a return on investment ranging from $1.18 to $14.65 (source) by reducing and averting many costly social issues like child abuse, juvenile delinquency and Medicaid costs while increasing revenue from gainful employment.
Currently, there are over a dozen different home visiting programs reaching an estimated 23,000 children families every year in Texas. But we have over HALF A MILLION families with young children that qualify and could benefit from services. We are currently reaching just 10% of our most-vulnerable families (source).
1 Olds, D. L., Eckenrode, J., Henderson, C. R., Kitzman, H., Powers, J., Cole, R., . . . Luckey, D. (1997). Long-term effects of home visitation on maternal life course and child abuse and neglect. Fifteen-year follow-up of a randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278(8), 637-643.
Prinz, R. J., Sanders, M. R., Shapiro, C. J., Whitaker, D. J., & Lutzker, J. R. (2009). Population-based prevention of child maltreatment: The U.S. Triple P system population trial. Prevention Science, 10(1), 1-12.
2 Prinz, R. J., Sanders, M. R., Shapiro, C. J., Whitaker, D. J., & Lutzker, J. R. (2009). Population-based prevention of child maltreatment: The U.S. Triple P system population trial. Prevention Science, 10(1), 1-12.
3 Chaffin, M., Hecht, D., Bard, D., Silovsky, J. F., & Beasley, W. H. (2012). A statewide trial of the SafeCare home-based services model with parents in child protective services. Pediatrics, 129(3), 509-515.
4 Prinz, R. J., Sanders, M. R., Shapiro, C. J., Whitaker, D. J., & Lutzker, J. R. (2009). Population-based prevention of child maltreatment: The U.S. Triple P system population trial. Prevention Science, 10(1), 1-12.