What Is It?
You are required to evaluate home visiting staff members at least annually and “use the results of these reviews to identify staff training and professional development needs, modify staff performance agreements, as necessary, and assist each staff member in improving his or her skills and professional competencies” [45 CFR 1304.52(j)]. Areas to focus on include home visitors’
- relationships with families;
- ability to meet the requirements of the HSPPS;
- comfort and familiarity with the home visiting process;
- skills in engaging with and supporting families;
- integration of child development principles and experiences into the home visits;
- conducting socializations, including engaging parents/families in planning for socializations;
- ability to appropriately balance the needs of very young children and their parents/family members during a home visit; and
- adherence to program policies, procedures, and protocols, including record keeping.
Each performance evaluation is an opportunity to assess staff training needs and long-term professional development goals. There should be no surprises for home visitors during the evaluation; they should already know how they are doing from discussions during ongoing supervision.
Ideally, you and the home visitor should jointly complete the evaluation so the home visitor is actively involved in assessing his or her own strengths and challenges. Use the professional development needs identified in the annual performance review to inform your future plans and decisions about staff professional development.1
The Role of Observation
Observation is a powerful tool. It helps you assess home visitors’ work with families and note home visitors’ development over time, and it contributes to the staff performance appraisal. Observation provides opportunities for you to reflect with home visitors on their strengths and areas for improvement. It also provides opportunities to do joint problem-solving on ways to best to handle challenging situations in the family, and to develop strategies for helping families reach their goals.
A planned observation during a home visit can give you information about how home visitors interact with parents/families and their young children when they go on home visits. You may use an observation checklist or formal tool to assess the quality of the home visitor’s interactions with the family and/or how well the home visitor implements the home-based curriculum. You can also review interactions that have been video recorded and use these recordings over time to help home visitors see their progress. During one-on-one sessions with the home visitor, you can discuss successes, areas for improvement, and the home visitor’s views on the visit.2 Videos can also be used as staff training tools. For example, they can be shown in a staff meeting (with the home visitor’s and family’s permission) to illustrate specific strategies or how address a specific issue. Peer observation and feedback may be the most valuable aspects of the training process.
Office of Head Start, What Are the Requirements for Performance Reviews and Professional Development? How Are They Related? OHS-PC-G-020 (Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 2008), https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/standards/pc/g_pc.htm;c2hhdW5fYWRtaW4=. ↩
Brandon Coffee-Borden and Diane Paulsell, Supporting Home Visitors in Evidence-Based Programs: Experiences of EBHV Grantees – Brief 4 (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, 2004), http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/~/media/publications/PDFs/earlychildhood/EBHV_brief4.pdf. ↩
Discover ways to support professional development for staff and supervisors around the nine relationship-based competencies. Use these self-assessments to develop required individual professional development plans. They also may be used in preparation for pre-service training, mid-year check-ins, and year-end check-ins.
This skill profile supports the development of an individual staff development plan for a home visitor. It includes a list of skill indicators with a brief description of each skill needed to carry out job responsibilities.