As a supervisor in a program with an Early Head Start (EHS) or Head Start (HS) home-based option, you play a pivotal role in the quality of the home visiting and group socialization services your program provides. You are a liaison between the program management and the home-based staff. You support, teach, and advocate, and you are a role model for your home visitors. You attend to the needs of families with infants and toddlers and know how to best support them. You work with program administrators to ensure that adequate systems are in place to support the work of home visitors. You plan, coordinate, and evaluate many facets of the home-based program.
This interactive Handbook is designed to support the important work you do and to help you do it well. It provides information about the home-based option, strategies for best practices, video examples for reflection, and resources related to your role as supervisor. It addresses hiring qualified staff, professional development, reflective supervision, supervising home visits and socializations, dealing with challenges in supervision, program management and continuous improvement, and “nurturing the nurturers”—taking care of home visitors and yourself. Relevant regulations from the Improving School Readiness through Head Start Act of 2007 (or Head Start Act) and the Head Start Program Performance Standards Head Start Program Performance Standards are also included to help you become familiar with the unique and comprehensive approach of HS programming and the home-based option in particular. Your own program will further incorporate this information within its own procedures and protocols.
Finally, you will find, where relevant, references and links to chapters in the Home Visitor’s Handbook. These are provided to strengthen the connection between what home visitors are expected to know and do and your roles and responsibilities in supporting the work of home visitors in your program.
A note about terminology: The title of the person who conducts home visits varies from program to program. Your program may call this person a family advocate or an infant-toddler educator. In this Handbook, we use the term home visitor. The terms parent and family are used interchangeably throughout this Handbook, except where the law and regulations require that the work be done with parents. This represents all of the people who may play both a parenting role in a child’s life and a partnering role with EHS/HS staff. This includes fathers, mothers, expectant parents, teen parents, grandparents, kith and kin caregivers, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) parents, guardians, and families with diverse structures that include multiple co-parenting relationships.
We hope you find this to be an engaging, informative, and useful resource to support your truly important work as a supervisor in your home-based program!