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What to expect

Many people think home visitors are there to play with the child or work with the child alone while the parent does something else. That's not the case.

Home visitors visit the family—not just the child—to build the family's ability to have the most impact on the child's learning and development. Because the process is a collaborate consultation with all involved, families help set the agenda for the visit. When the home visitor arrives, he or she will ask the family what they would like to talk about. If there are no pressing issues, the home visitor will address some of the 6 to 12 functional goals each family will have identified on their Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The focus of the visits will be on support and consultation to strengthen up the family's confidence in meeting their goals for themselves and the child.

The two things home visitors focus on most are (1) support and (2) behavioral consultation. Behavioral consultation includes addressing goals specific to the child as well as goals of the entire family.


Emotional Support
Home visitors are positive, responsive, oriented to the whole family (not just the target child), friendly, and sensitive.

Material Support
Home visitors ensure families have information about basic needs like housing, clothes, food, diapers, and more as well as ensure families have any specialized equipment the child needs to function in everyday activities.

Informational Support
Home visitors give families information about child development, the child's disability, community resources and services, and guidance about what to do with the child.

Behavioral Consultation Around Child Goals
Home visitors work with adult family members, usually parents, to figure out how best to help a child be engaged (participate), to be independent, and to have successful social relationships (through communication and getting along with others). They use research-based adult-learning principles to work with the parents.

Behavioral Consultation Around Family Goals
Home visitors work with parents to figure out how the family's own needs can be met. We know that parents' well-being is tied to children's well-being.