2 Introduction

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The introduction to the Home Visitor’s Handbook (Chapter 2, “Introduction” describes the “complex, delicate, intense, challenging, and rewarding” work that home visitors do when engaging families of infants and toddlers in the home setting. Your role as supervisor is crucial to ensuring that home visitors do this work sensitively and effectively, and that your program as a whole supports positive outcomes for young children and their families.

Supervision, defined literally, is the “ability to see in an overarching manner.” As a supervisor in the Early Head Start/Head Start (EHS/HS) home-based program option, you envision the “big picture”: what the children need, what the families bring to the relationship, how home visitors support families, and how your program supports the home-based services. The many roles you take on in this process include the following:

  • Teacher who shares expertise about the EHS/HS program, children’s healthy growth and development, and home visiting with the home-based staff.
  • Support person who is a trusted authority figure, providing home visitors with the experience of being cared about and supported in their work.
  • Model who demonstrates respectful relationships with others that can be emulated by the home visitor in his or her work with families and children.
  • Advocate who speaks up for home visitors and families in the home-based option and encourages program leaders to meet family and staff needs.
  • Program planner who is an essential contributor to the design and continuous improvement of the services offered to families and children in the home-based option.
  • Accountability person who maintains the integrity of the program by supporting home visitors and the highest-quality services.
  • Leader whose vision and commitment to build and maintain a high-quality, home-based program are shared by home-based staff.

In addition to these roles, you perform certain functions to ensure that the home-based program option operates effectively and fully meets the requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) and other regulations. The functions of the HS home-based supervisor include staff selection, staff supervision, professional development for staff, sharing expertise in children’s healthy growth and development and family support, and program coordination, ongoing program monitoring, and program self-assessment.