Home visits are the heart of the home-based program option. They are the primary vehicle for delivering comprehensive Head Start (HS) services to young children and their families. The Home Visitor’s Handbook (see Chapter 6, “Elements of a Home Visit”) details curriculum planning, curriculum experiences, and ongoing assessment and individualized services—the necessary elements of a home visit in an Early Head Start (EHS) program, defined in Child Development Services During Home Visits and Socializations in the Early Head Start Home- Based Program Option, ACYF-IM-HS-00-22.
Home visitors create and maintain relationships with families—these relationships are the foundation of the home visitor’s work! Within the context of relationships, home visitors
- support parents/families in developing secure relationships with their children;
- engage with parents/families in joint planning for what happens during each home visit;
- help parents offer child-focused, structured learning interactions and experiences—using your program’s established curriculum as the foundation—that support their child’s school readiness;
- involve parents/families in completing the required developmental screening within 45 days of a child’s enrollment; and
- engage parents/families in the ongoing assessment process.
In addition to working with parents to focus on their child’s development, home visitors support parents as they pursue education, life skills, and comprehensive health services for themselves and their children as part of the child and family goals. Developing family partnership agreements is an essential part of this support.
As the home-based supervisor, you
- help home visitors navigate the many important elements of home visits;
- go on home visits to meet families and observe home visitors in action;
- share your knowledge about child development, promoting partnerships with families, family engagement, Head Start Program Performance Standards and other relevant regulations, and program policies, procedures, and protocols that support their work;
- structure policies and procedures to ensure the safety of home visitors when they go on home visits; and
- put systems in place to help home visitors organize their time and document and track the important work they are doing!
You accomplish all this through joint visits, supervision, professional development, and other program supports.