Partners for a Healthy Baby features materials for home visitors and families that promote child development and family well-being. The curriculum is organized around children's ages and topics home visitors can use to support both age-appropriate learning and family development.
Summary of Curriculum Review
- Promotes research-based parenting practices to support children's development and learning in all Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) domains
- Provides specific guidance to home visitors on ways to engage families in building relationships with their children
- Encourages opportunities for infants and toddlers to engage in movement, play, and exploration
- Includes general guidance on setting and supporting family-level goals
- Provides general guidance for ongoing child observation
- Promotes few research-based home visiting practices for building positive and responsive relationships with families
- Lacks specific learning goals for children's development and learning
- Provides limited guidance for home visitors and families to jointly plan home visits and group socializations
- Lacks guidance on culturally responsive interactions and learning experiences
- Provides limited guidance on how to support the development and learning of infants and toddlers who are dual language learners (DLLs)
- Lacks guidance on ensuring that the home environment, learning materials, and learning experiences are accessible to children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs
- Provides minimal guidance on how to tailor home visits to be responsive to individual children's strengths and needs
Cost of Curriculum
Baby's 1st Year: Months 1–12: $175/home visitor
Baby's 2nd Year: Months 13–24: $175/home visitor
Toddler's 3rd Year: Months 25–36: $175/home visitor
1st Year Handouts: $26/family
2nd Year Handouts: $19.50/family
3rd Year Handouts: $19.50/family
Cost of Professional Development
Three-day in-person course: $595/participant
Contact the publisher for the most updated information on costs of the curriculum and current professional development offerings.
Availability in Other Languages
Parent handouts are available in Spanish for an additional cost:
Primer Año del Bebé: Meses 1–12 Folletos para Padres: $28/family
Segundo Año del Bebé: Meses 13–24 Folletos para Padres: $21/family
Tercer Año del Bebé: Meses 25–36 Folletos para Padres: $21/family
Home-based programs for pregnant mothers and for children from birth to 36 months
Curriculum Materials Reviewed by Raters
Materials from Partners for a Healthy Baby were purchased and reviewed in 2018. These materials included:
- Baby's 1st Year: Months 1–12
- Baby's 2nd Year: Months 13–24
- Toddler's 3rd Year: Months 25–36
Evidence Base for Child Outcomes
Evidence from research demonstrates that the curriculum has been associated with positive child outcomes. The curriculum has been implemented and directly studied in early childhood home visiting programs, and the research showed significant, positive effects on child outcomes. Evidence of effectiveness has been obtained in rigorous research studies, such as randomized controlled trials or regression discontinuity designs. Research studies on the curriculum have optimally included multiple, diverse groups of children and families.
At the time of this review, no research studies that evaluate the curriculum's effect on child outcomes have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Although one program evaluation mentioned this curriculum, the study also mentioned the use of other home visiting curricula (Kirkland & Mitchell-Herzfeld, 2012). Outcomes from this evaluation are omitted in this review because the effects were not clearly linked to use of Partners for a Healthy Baby. Some evidence indicates that use of this curriculum was associated with a reduction in rates of low birth weight (e.g., Lee et al., 2009) and maternal depression (DuMont et al., 2008). However, more rigorous research is needed in order to establish evidence for positive effects of the Partners for a Healthy Baby curriculum on child outcomes.
For more information on Partners for a Healthy Baby as a parenting curriculum, see the Home-Based Parenting Curriculum Database.
DuMont, K., Rodriguez, M., Mitchell-Herzfeld, S., Walden, N., Kirkland, K., Greene, R., & Lee, E. (2008). Effects of Healthy Families New York on maternal behaviors: Observational assessments of positive and negative parenting. Rensselaer, NY: New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
Kirkland, K., & Mitchell-Herzfeld, S. (2012). Final report: Evaluating the effectiveness of home visiting services in promoting children's adjustment in school. Washington, DC: Pew Center on the States.
Lee, E., Mitchell-Herzfeld, S., Lowenfels, A., Green, R., Dorabawila, V., & DuMont, K. (2009). Reducing low birth weight through home visitation: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(2), 154–160.
The curriculum provides research-based content and parenting practices to support children's development and learning. A research-based home visiting curriculum is consistent with research on effective home visiting and parenting practices. Specifically, it promotes home visiting practices and interactions that research has shown to be effective in engaging parents and families. Additionally, a research-based home visiting curriculum promotes parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices that are shown to support children's learning and development.
Home Visiting Practices and Interactions: Partners for a Healthy Baby promotes a few home visiting practices and interactions that research has shown to be effective in engaging parents. For example, the curriculum includes specific information on how a home visitor can facilitate parent-child interactions and address child development. Additionally, the "Detailed Information Pages" provide guidance to parents on how to communicate with families about a pre-chosen topic, with specific open-ended questions to start the conversation. However, while the "User's Guide" calls out the importance of key research-based home visiting practices and interactions (e.g., "build a trusting relationship," "empower the family," "address the family's concerns first," "be observant"), it lacks specific guidance for home visitors on how to engage in these practices. In addition, the curriculum provides minimal guidance on how to address a family's needs and follow their lead to jointly plan home visits that build on the family's strengths and needs. The topics for the "Purposes" are predetermined, and the home visit planning process that is outlined in the "User's Guide" includes very little family input.
Parenting Practices: The curriculum promotes research-based parenting practices to support children's development and learning. For example, many of the handouts throughout the curriculum encourage parents to engage in sensitive, responsive interactions with children (e.g., contingently responding to a child's cues). The curriculum also provides guidance for parents on how to model and support the development of children's social skills, emotional regulation, and cognitive skills. It supports families to promote a language and literacy-rich environment (e.g., "Talking with your baby;" "Making more time for books"), but less consistent guidance is offered on use of the home language throughout the curriculum. Many of the parent handouts and "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors focus on using routines such as mealtime and naptime as opportunities for learning. Additionally, the curriculum mentions the importance of following a child's lead and provides guidance on how to support children's active exploration and play (e.g., the "Watch My Skills Grow" series). It emphasizes the importance of setting up the home to create a safe play environment and provides suggestions for how to use materials in the home to support children's active play and exploration.
Scope and Sequence
The curriculum includes an organized developmental scope and sequence to support children's development and learning. A scope and sequence outlines what the curriculum focuses on and how the plans and materials support children at different levels of development. The scope refers to the areas of development addressed by the curriculum; the sequence includes plans and materials for learning experiences that progressively build from less to more complex, with the goal of supporting children as they move through the developmental progressions. A content-rich curriculum ensures that sequences of learning experiences include multiple, related opportunities for children to explore a concept or skill with increasing depth. Sequences of learning experiences should be flexible to respond to individual children's interests, strengths, and needs.
Scope: The curriculum identifies four developmental domains in the "Scope and Sequence" section of "Baby's/Toddler's Development:" Language and Literacy; Social Emotional Development; Developmental Skills; and Play, Learning, and Cognition. The domain "Developmental Skills" does not clearly identify a particular area of development, but focuses generally on observing and reflecting on new skills that the baby/toddler develops. The "Watch Me Grow!" parent handouts provide a broad introduction to child development under the following four domain categories: Motor, Language, Thinking, and Feeling. The varying naming conventions for domains throughout the curriculum do not allow for a clear connection between the curriculum materials (e.g., parent handouts) and the domains listed in the "Scope and Sequence."
Sequence: Partners for a Healthy Baby provides a sequence of learning experiences that supports children as they build knowledge and skills in each of the ELOF domains, with materials organized by child's age, from 1 to 36 months. For example, in a series of handouts (e.g., "Watch My Motor Skills Grow," "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow," "Watch My Language Skills Grow," "Watch My Social Emotional Skills Grow," and "Watch My Play Skills Grow"), the curriculum includes tips to support children's learning and development at different age levels from birth to 36 months. The curriculum offers multiple, related opportunities for children to explore or learn concepts or skills in the ELOF domains of Approaches to Learning, Language and Communication, and Cognition. However, the curriculum lacks a variety of experiences that provide children with ample opportunities to build skills in the domain of Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development and in some areas of Social and Emotional Development, such as Relationships with Other Children and Sense of Identity and Belonging. Additionally, the curriculum does not provide clear guidance on how home visitors can use the sequences of learning experiences in ways that allow for flexibility based on the interests, strengths, and needs of children.
Alignment with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF)
The curriculum is aligned with the ELOF. Aligning a curriculum with the ELOF identifies the extent to which ELOF domains and sub-domains are addressed in the curriculum. Curricula that are fully aligned with the ELOF are comprehensive and cover all areas of children's learning and development described in the ELOF.
Alignment with the ELOF: A thorough review of all of the curriculum materials indicates that Partners for a Healthy Baby is fully aligned with the ELOF domains and sub-domains. The "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors and parent handouts support children across all ELOF sub-domains.
Learning Goals for Children
The curriculum specifies learning goals for children. The curriculum's learning goals are objectives for children's development and learning across domains. Learning goals should be measurable and developmentally appropriate. Measurable learning goals for children focus on skills, behaviors, and knowledge that are observable; developmentally appropriate learning goals are consistent with well-established developmental progressions. Learning experiences support children's progress toward the learning goals. In addition to the goals provided by the curriculum, home visitors collaborate with parents and families to identify individual goals for their child's learning and development.
Learning Goals: The curriculum does not specify learning goals for children's development and learning. Broad concepts of child development for children from birth to 36 months are introduced as part of the "Watch Me Grow!" handouts. Each handout includes three indicators of development in each of the following areas: Motor, Language, Thinking, and Feeling. However, these are not specific goals for children's learning and development. Finally, the curriculum does not offer guidance to engage families in identifying individual goals for children's development and learning.
Ongoing Child Assessment
The curriculum provides guidance on ongoing child assessment. Ongoing child assessment is a process in which families and home visitors observe and gather information to understand and support children's development and learning over time. Information gathered through observation helps home visitors and families support children's individual interests and needs. Information from ongoing observations can also be used to periodically complete standardized and structured assessment instruments to evaluate children's developmental progress.
Ongoing Observation: The curriculum provides general guidance in parent handouts to help families and home visitors reflect, every month or two, on a child's development (1 to 36 months). For example, a series of "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors, called "Continue to promote parents' observation and reflection skills with baby," provide home visitors with general suggestions for supporting parents in their observations (e.g., "Your role is to help the family continue to be careful observers of what is happening with their baby and how their interactions are changing over time"). These pages mention a "Review, Observe, Reflect" process, but the curriculum does not provide details on how to engage in this process or what it entails. The parent handouts include sentence starters for families to use as they think about the child's development, such as "I can tell my baby is interested in something when ...," but the handouts do not include specific guidance on how to observe children. Additionally, the curriculum does not provide information on how to connect this information to home visit planning.
Standardized and Structured Assessment Instruments: The curriculum provides information on using developmental screening tools (e.g., Ages & Stages Questionnaires® (ASQ®)) based on parental observation and reflection as the basis for screening. However, it does not include guidance for home visitors and families on how to select and use standardized and structured child assessment instruments.
Home Visitor-Family Relationships and Interactions
The curriculum promotes positive home visitor-family relationships and interactions. A home visitor's positive relationship with parents and families through culturally and linguistically responsive interactions forms the foundation of home visits. A strengths-based approach to building relationships with families provides a foundation for home visitors to interact with families. The curriculum provides strategies for how home visitors can establish positive relationships and responsive interactions with parents and families. The curriculum also provides strategies to bring families together in groups to facilitate peer support.
Relationships with Parents and Families: The curriculum provides general guidance on building relationships with families. The "User's Guide" includes a brief section called "How Do I Build a Trusting Relationship?" with some general tips for building a trusting relationship with families (e.g., "keep their confidences," "respect their culture and values"). The "User's Guide" states, "To fulfill your role, you must first be able to establish warm, supportive, and empowering relationships with families whose culture, beliefs, values, and priorities may not be the same as your own. Establishing a good relationship with each family is key to your effectiveness." However, the curriculum does not offer specific guidance for supporting a relationship-building process between home visitors and families that is integrated throughout the curriculum materials.
Responsive Interactions with Parents and Families: The "User's Guide" briefly describes the importance of responding to a family's concerns during a home visit. It provides some general tips and reflection questions to promote responsive interactions with families (e.g., "Inquire about any immediate needs or concerns," "Address the family's concern first," "Did I attend to what the family was telling me with their words and non-verbal cues?"). In addition, the "Detailed Information Pages" provide open-ended questions home visitors can use with the family to start conversations. However, there is little room in the "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors to actively respond to families' unique needs, and the home visit planning process does not involve families. Additionally, little consideration is given to how home visitors engage in responsive interactions with diverse families.
Peer Support: Partners for a Healthy Baby includes several parent handouts and "Detailed Information Pages" that discuss the importance of social support for families (e.g., "Circle of Support for My Baby and Me"). However, no explicit guidance is provided on how home visitors can gather families together for group socializations.
Professional Development and Materials to Support Implementation
The curriculum offers professional development and materials to support implementation and continuous improvement. Professional development includes gaining the knowledge and skills required for effective implementation of a curriculum. Standardized training procedures include initial and ongoing training to support home visitors as they learn to implement a curriculum with fidelity. Standardized training procedures provide consistent content and delivery methods across training sessions. Curriculum materials to support implementation include resources that come with a curriculum to help home visitors understand how to use it. The materials may also include resources to help education managers and coaches support home visitors to implement the curriculum effectively.
Professional Development: Partners for a Healthy Baby offers a two- or three-day initial in-person training, "Partners for a Healthy Baby Workshop for Home Visitors," either in Florida or at a program site. The workshop covers a variety of topics, including children's learning and development in different domains, planning home visits, and using the curriculum with fidelity. In addition, Partners for a Healthy Baby offers an initial training for supervisors, as well as initial training on parts of the curriculum (e.g., the prenatal curriculum only). Coaching support and mentoring for programs are offered on request.
Curriculum Materials to Support Implementation: The curriculum includes some overview materials and guidance to facilitate understanding of the curriculum. Each volume has a "User's Guide" that provides lists of tips for a home visitor, such as "What Is My Role as a Home Visitor?" One section called "How Do I Conduct a Home Visit?" offers specific step-by-step information on how to use the curriculum to plan a home visit. The "Detailed Information Pages" provide some specific guidance on how to use the parent handouts with families. The curriculum provides information about how it is organized, but it is unclear how the handouts and the "Detailed Information Pages" should be combined and implemented as part of a cohesive program. The curriculum only provides the following general recommendation: "Tailor your choice of purposes to the needs of each family while using the curriculum as a guide to ensure critical information is covered."
- Fidelity Tool: The curriculum offers the "Partners for a Healthy Baby Fidelity Checklist," which can be used to assess fidelity of implementation. Supervisors use the checklist quarterly during reflective supervision; home visitors can also use it as a self-reporting tool. The tool can be used to assess how home visitors are following the curriculum's steps of planning and implementing a home visit.
Learning Experiences and Interactions
The curriculum promotes rich learning experiences for children to support development across domains. Rich learning experiences take place within the context of responsive relationships. The curriculum helps home visitors support the family-child relationship as the foundation for learning in all domains and encourages parents and families to engage children in play, movement, and active exploration. The curriculum also provides guidance for how parents and families can interact with children to extend their exploration, thinking, and communication. Home visitors and families collaborate to plan learning experiences and routines for children that build on the family's culture, language, and preferences.
Family-Child Relationship: Partners for a Healthy Baby emphasizes the family-child relationship as the foundation for a child's learning and development. The curriculum provides abundant guidance to home visitors about ways to engage parents in building relationships with their children through a variety of reflections and handouts (e.g., "Encourage different ways parents can be available as toddler's secure base."). Guidance for facilitating parent-child relationships is delineated in the "Baby's Development" and "Caring for Baby" sections and is also embedded throughout the curriculum.
Active Exploration and Play: The curriculum consistently emphasizes the importance of play and provides guidance to home visitors and parents on how to engage children in ongoing active play and exploration. Parent handouts such as "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow" and "Watch My Play Skills Grow," and the "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors, discuss the importance of play in children's development and include some guidance for supporting children's play skills at different age levels. For example, at 7 months, "Talk about baby's first play skills and why play is important;" and at 8 months, "Explain how play helps the baby learn." The parent handouts offer ideas to promote play and exploration (e.g., "Make the fun tub a fun place to learn by adding plastic cups, measuring cups ... She'll love to think of the different ways to make the water splash and ripple."). The parent handout "Children Learn Through Play" provides ideas for supporting children's learning. Similar guidance is offered throughout the curriculum to support children's problem-solving, observation, and exploration skills. Although advice for supporting active exploration and play is embedded throughout curriculum materials, suggestions for parents in the handouts (e.g., "You can ...") are often brief and not specific.
Interactions that Extend Children's Learning: Throughout the curriculum materials, some guidance is provided on extending children's communication, thinking, and exploration. For example, parent handouts such as the "Watch My Thinking Skills Grow" and "Watch My Play Skills Grow" series describe prompts for parents to extend conversations (e.g., "Talk about the way [toys] feel, the sounds they make, and what color they are," "Ask your baby questions with the words 'more' or 'again' ") and to engage in responsive interactions (e.g., "Copy the different sounds the child makes and give him time to respond with something new."). Additionally, handouts to support language and literacy provide guidance on how to extend children's communication and language skills (e.g., "Encourage turn-taking conversations between parents and baby," "Talk about labeling everyday objects"). However, suggestions for interactions that extend children's learning are often provided as brief, general statements of what parents can do to support new play skills.
Individualization: The curriculum includes some guidance for home visitors to support parents as they learn about their children's development and interests (e.g., "It is time to look again at the things you have been observing with your baby. I am excited to hear what you've noticed your baby doing since my last visit."). However, it includes little information on how to collaborate with families to create learning experiences that build on children's individual strengths or needs. Additionally, the curriculum provides only a few activities that build on families' cultures and home languages.
Learning Environments and Routines
The curriculum provides guidance on how to support parents and families in making the home a rich learning environment and in establishing developmentally appropriate routines. A nurturing home learning environment offers developmentally appropriate schedules, routines, and indoor and outdoor opportunities for play, exploration, and experimentation. The home learning environment should include age-appropriate materials and supplies. The curriculum should support the selection of developmentally appropriate learning materials from the home and culture that foster children's open-ended exploration and inquiry.
Environment: The curriculum includes some general guidance on supporting the home as a learning environment. The focus of much of the guidance relates to safety in the home; for example, "Equipment Safety Tips" provides tips for organizing a home and making sure items are safe for infants. It also includes some general guidance on organizing the home learning environment to support exploration and play (e.g., "Arrange your Home for Success"). It does not include guidance on making a home learning environment accessible for a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need.
Learning Materials: The curriculum provides some specific guidance, particularly in parent handouts, on using developmentally appropriate learning materials found in the home. A few handouts (e.g., "Smart Toys from Your Kitchen," "Homemade Toys to Help Me Learn") include suggested materials families can gather from the kitchen or from other areas of the home (e.g., cooking spoons, pots, boxes) for children to use in play. The curriculum includes some guidance on how to use the materials to foster open-ended exploration and inquiry (e.g., building, creating, problem-solving). However, it does not provide guidance on how to incorporate materials that are accessible for a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need.
Routines: Partners for a Healthy Baby consistently guides families in establishing and supporting developmentally appropriate routines that are responsive to a child's needs. The curriculum includes specific guidance on routines that is embedded throughout the "Detailed Information Pages" for home visitors and the parent handouts, particularly in the "Caring for Baby" section. It also includes materials to support routines that are responsive to a child's needs at mealtimes, bedtime, during transitions, and at other points in the day.
The curriculum supports cultural responsiveness. Cultural responsiveness is a strengths-based approach to relationships and caregiving rooted in respect and appreciation for the role of culture in children's learning and development. A culturally responsive curriculum prompts home visitors to incorporate the family's culture into home visits. The curriculum guides home visitors to build relationships and interactions with families of diverse cultural backgrounds; to learn about families' expectations, practices, and preferences for supporting their child's learning; and to work with parents and families to incorporate their culture and traditions into home visits.
Interactions: The curriculum's "User's Guide" includes a few mentions of the importance of home visitors interacting with families from diverse backgrounds and cultures. A section called "What Is My Role as a Home Visitor?" includes a brief description of establishing relationships with families who may be different than the home visitor. The curriculum lacks guidance on how to engage in culturally responsive interactions with families. In addition, gender-based stereotypes are perpetuated throughout the curriculum, particularly in the "Fatherhood" sections. Although the "Detailed Information Pages" and parent handouts address some topics that are specifically targeted at fathers, the materials often reflect stereotypes and do not promote a strengths-based approach (e.g., handouts reflect assumptions that fathers are often absent, do not help with household chores, and do not provide economic support for their children).
Learning Experiences: The "User's Guide" describes the importance of planning learning experiences based on a family's culture. A bulleted list of skills that a home visitor needs, in a section called "Home Visitor Skills & Knowledge," includes "cultural sensitivity" and respecting the "cultural values" of a family. However, the curriculum does not include guidance on what these skills entail or how to collaborate or adapt learning experiences based on a family's traditions or culture.
The curriculum supports linguistic responsiveness. Linguistic responsiveness refers to practices that support the learning, development, and engagement of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. It involves partnering with families to intentionally support the development and learning of children who are dual language learners (DLLs). The curriculum provides guidance to families to support the home language while providing suggestions on how to expose children to English.
Linguistic Responsiveness: The curriculum offers minimal guidance for how to intentionally support the development and learning of children who are DLLs. Two handouts specifically focus on asking families their preference of language learning and on the need to have a plan for exposing children to all languages that the child is learning, including the child's home language. One handout, "Benefits of Growing Up Multilingual," describes the strengths of learning two or more languages and encourages parents to talk with the child in English and in the child's home language. However, throughout the curriculum, very little guidance on how home visitors and families can support the development of children who are DLLs is provided.
Individualization for Children with Disabilities, Suspected Delays, or Other Special Needs
The curriculum provides guidance on how to help parents and families support their child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need. Home visitors and families can adapt learning experiences from the curriculum for a child with a disability or other special need. The curriculum includes suggestions for accommodations to the physical home learning environment and adaptations of learning experiences in the curriculum to meet the learning needs and strengths of children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs. The curriculum also provides suggestions for how home visitors can provide resources and referrals to families as needed.
Resources and Referrals: The "Watch Me Grow!" handouts throughout the curriculum provide brief information on the importance of referring families with a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need to resources in the community (e.g., "Be prepared to share information about Part C services with the family."). The curriculum offers minimal guidance on how to identify resources in the community or how to go through a referral process.
Learning Environment: The curriculum does not address the accessibility of the home environment or learning materials for a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need.
Parenting Practices and Interventions: The curriculum does not address adaptations to routines or learning experiences for a child with a disability, suspected delay, or other special need.
Individualization Based on Interests, Strengths, and Needs
The curriculum offers guidance on how to individualize based on the interests, strengths, and needs of families and children. Individualization is a process of collaborating with families to plan home visits and learning experiences that are responsive to families and children. Home visitors and families reflect on their observations of the child and together plan how to support each child's learning and development. When learning experiences are tailored to children's interests and take place in the context of a family's regular routines, they are more engaging and meaningful to children. Because children may vary in their developmental progressions, it is also important that the curriculum supports home visitors and families in planning learning experiences that are responsive to individual children's strengths and needs.
Individualization Based on Interests: Partners for a Healthy Baby provides prompts for families to observe and learn about their child's interests (e.g., "I can tell my baby is interested in something when ..."). A few resources also mention the importance of following a child's lead during play. For example, "A New Way to Read" describes how to follow a child's interests in books. However, the curriculum does not include explicit discussion of how to individualize or modify the home visit based on an individual child's interests. In addition, the home visit planning process is led by the home visitor, with little input from families about the child's interests.
Individualization Based on Strengths and Needs: Partners for a Healthy Baby provides minimal guidance on how to tailor home visits to be responsive to individual children's strengths and needs (e.g., the "User's Guide" says, "Inquire about any immediate needs or concerns"). The home visit planning process does not include collaborative planning with a family to determine how to individualize the home visit based on the strengths and needs of the child. Additionally, parent handouts that are designed to support children's development (e.g., the "Watch Me Grow!" series) do not provide guidance on how to tailor activities to individual children's strengths and needs.
Family Development and Well-Being
The curriculum supports family development and well-being as the context for promoting children's development and learning. Children develop in the context of their family systems; families provide a base of support for each child's development. Home visitors support family development and well-being through the family goal-setting process. They partner with families to identify goals that address family challenges and support family development and well-being. Home visitors also provide families with resources and referrals to support them as they work toward their goals.
Family Goals: The curriculum includes some general guidance for home visitors to engage families in setting goals, primarily through resources in the "Family Development" category. A few "Purposes" are specifically designed to support the family in setting goals for themselves (e.g., "Help families identify their dreams and achieve their goals."). The "Detailed Information Pages" provide language home visitors can use to help families set their goals (e.g., reinforcing the value of breaking big goals into smaller, more manageable steps). The curriculum also provides a few corresponding handouts for families (e.g., "Making My Dreams Come True," "Making Changes for Positive Outcomes," "Making Your Dream Happen: Next Steps"). Additionally, it engages families in setting goals that address specific challenges they might have, such as career development, budget planning, or setting priorities. However, it lacks a clear, collaborative process and strategies for how home visitors engage families to establish goals based on the family's needs.
Ongoing Assessment of Progress Toward Family Goals: Partners for a Healthy Baby provides follow-up activities for home visitors and families to revisit family goals at specific points in time established by the curriculum. For example, when the baby is 7 months old, the curriculum invites home visitors to "discuss family's progress toward their goals and offer suggestions for overcoming challenges." Other handouts for families, such as "Facing Challenges" and "Action Plan for Success," offer general affirmations on tackling issues that may arise (e.g., "Everyone has some rocks on their path to success ... How can you overcome them?"). However, there is no clear, systematic process for engaging families in ongoing assessment of their progress toward reaching their goals.
Resources and Referrals: The curriculum briefly describes the importance of connecting families to resources they might need in order to make progress toward future goals (e.g., "provide support [for them] to gain access to services that allow them to put their plans into action"). It encourages home visitors to contact the appropriate agency or support person in their program or community in relation to the need (e.g., Part C Early Intervention; infant mental health specialist; Women, Infants and Children (WIC); lactation consultant; program supervisor). However, it includes limited guidance on how to brainstorm resources with or refer families to specific resources in the community, such as a list of common public resources (e.g., libraries, local adult learning institutions), depending on the family-level goals.