Components of the Early Head Start Home-Based Model

This resource provides the essential components of the Early Head Start Home-Based Model for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program grantees. Note: This resource is under review.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) regional offices oversee the administration of ACF programs, including Early Head Start (EHS). The regional offices guide the programmatic and financial management of EHS in their jurisdictions and provide assistance, resources, and information to the various entities responsible for administrating these programs.

Each state is assigned a region (see the ACF Regional Map for more information). EHS programs administered by American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) tribal organizations are designated as "Region 11 – AIAN," regardless of state location. Likewise, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs are designated as "Region 12 – MSHS," regardless of location.

The EHS Home-Based Model provides high-quality, culturally competent child development and parent support services with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child's first, and most important relationship. The home-based option is designed for families in which the home is the child's primary learning environment. Participants in the EHS home-based model receive a combination of weekly home visits and regularly scheduled group socializations.  

The scope of services in the home-based program option is comprehensive and includes the following:

  • Developmental screening, ongoing observation and assessment, and curriculum planning
  • Medical, dental, and mental health
  • Child development and education
  • Family partnerships and goal setting
  • Community collaborations to meet additional family needs

Home Visits
Home visits are conducted with the child's parent(s) or the primary caregiver for 90 minutes, generally on a year-round basis. The purpose of the home visit is to support parents in their roles as primary caregivers and to facilitate the child’s optimal development within their home environments.

Group Socializations
Group socializations are offered twice a month and are designed to support child development by strengthening the parent-child relationship. In the context of a group of families, socialization experiences address child growth and development, parenting, and the parent-child relationship.

Services to Pregnant Women
For EHS programs enrolling pregnant women, home visits are conducted to ensure pregnant women have access to comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care.  A home visit is also used to provide prenatal education on topics such as fetal development, labor and delivery, postpartum recovery (including maternal depression), and the benefits of breastfeeding. 

Family Partnership Agreement 
In order to meet the needs of children and families, a Family Partnership Agreement is created that defines the individualized focus for each enrolled child and family. Through this process, parents are integrally involved in determining the goals and experiences that comprise their child’s curriculum, and in identifying goals for themselves that best support their healthy development and self-sufficiency.

Home Visiting Staff
In the EHS Home-Based Model, the relationship of the home visitor with parents and expectant parents is central to effective service delivery. Through ongoing interactions in home visits and socializations, this continuity of the relationship becomes the vehicle through which home visitors support and strengthen parents' or expectant parents’ abilities to nurture the healthy development of their children.

Eligibility for EHS Home Visiting Participants 
The EHS Home-Based Model targets low-income pregnant women and families with children birth to three. To be eligible, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level (Head Start Program Performance Standards 45 CFR 1305.4). However, EHS Home-Based Models must make at least 10 percent of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state [Head Start Program Performance Standards 45 CFR 1305.6(c)]. Each individual EHS Home-Based Model is allowed to create specific program eligibility criteria (Head Start Program Performance Standards 45 CFR 1305.5 and 1305.6).

Components of the Early Head Start Home-Based Model. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2011. English.

Last Reviewed: May 2011

Last Updated: February 17, 2017