According to the Home Visitor’s Handbook (see Chapter 2, “Introduction”), the work of the “home visitor is complex, delicate, intense, challenging, and rewarding. [Home visitors] are working closely with families at a time when they are undergoing enormous changes and want to do what they can to support the well-being of their child…[The work of the home visitor] is so significant because of the profound importance of pregnancy, the newborn period, and the first five years of life for the child’s lifelong development, the growth of each family member’s skills and abilities to promote that development, and the quality of the parent–child relationship.” As a home-based supervisor, you want to hire the most capable, qualified, home visitors you can find to do this important work!
Both the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) and the 2007 Head Start Act require home visitors to have certain knowledge, experience, and skills. The Head Start Program Performance Standards [§1302.91(e)(6)]: Staff qualifications and competency requirements require home visitors: - As of August 1,2018, a minimum of a home-based CDA credential or comparable credential, or equivalent coursework as part of an associate’s or bachelor's degree. - Demonstrate competency to plan and implement home-based learning experiences that ensure: o Effective implementation of the home visiting curriculum. o Promote children’s progress across the standards described in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five, including for children with disabilities and dual language learners, as appropriate. o Build respectful, culturally responsive, and trusting relationships with families.
Head Start Act section 645A(i)(2)(A)-(G) states, “the standards for training, qualifications, and the conduct of home visits [in Early Head Start] shall include content related to
- structured child-focused home visiting that promotes parents' ability to support the child's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development;
- effective strengths-based parent education, including methods to encourage parents as their child's first teachers;
- early childhood development with respect to children from birth through age 3;
- methods to help parents promote emergent literacy in their children from birth through age 3, including use of research-based strategies to support the development of literacy and language skills for children who are limited English proficient;
- ascertaining what health and developmental services the family receives and working with providers of these services to eliminate gaps in service by offering annual health, vision, hearing, and developmental screening for children from birth to entry into kindergarten, when needed;
- strategies for helping families coping with crisis; and
- the relationship of health and well-being of pregnant women to prenatal and early child development.”
These Head Start Act competencies and the HSPPS are fully addressed in the Home Visitor’s Handbook; see Chapter 8, “Training and Education of Home Visitors.”
The work of home visitors occurs in the context of interpersonal relationships. Building these relationships with families takes time, effort, and commitment. So the home visitors you hire must be ready, willing, and able to engage in relationship-based work. They must be “relationship ready.”
As part of your administrative responsibilities, you may be involved in three important tasks related to hiring home visitors:
- Developing a thorough and accurate job description
- Identifying appropriate outlets for recruitment
- Developing or implementing an interview process that provides information necessary for evaluating the candidate’s capacity to do the work