Home Visiting programs offer information, guidance and support for young children and their families who are in vulnerable circumstances. These programs operate from the assumption that services delivered in the home positively impact families and that, by changing parenting practices, there are measurable and long-term benefits for children's development. However, Home Visiting is a method of service delivery and not necessarily a theoretical approach or specific program model. Individual programs vary with respect to the age of the child served, the focus on particular family risk factors, the range of services offered, the intensity of the home visits, the content of the curriculum that is used in the program, the expertise of the individuals providing the services (typically nurses vs. paraprofessionals), how effectively the program is implemented, and the range of outcomes observed.
Legislation passed during the 2012 Maryland Legislative Session (SB 566/HB 699 (Chapters 79 and 80)) requires the Governor's Office for Children (GOC) and the Agencies of the Children's Cabinet to "develop a standardized reporting mechanism for the purpose of collecting information about and monitoring the effectiveness of State-funded home visiting programs."
In June 2012, in a response to a Joint Chairman's Report request for information, the Agencies recommended the following:
- Support home visiting by increasing coordination for trainings and grant writing;
- Implement and support the reporting requirements of the Home Visiting Accountability Act of 2012;
- Develop home visiting commonalities; and,
- Coordinate data collection and reporting.
The Governor's Office for Children (GOC), on behalf of the Children's Cabinet, has contracted with The Institute to provide technical expertise to support ongoing implementation of evidence-based home visiting programs in Maryland.