5 Things You Should Know about Home Visiting in Texas: A Two-Generation Approach to Supporting Families

December 2014
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Home visiting programs have rapidly expanded across the country as an evidence-based policy choice for supporting families with young children. CFRP is currently conducting an ongoing program implementation evaluation of the Texas Home Visiting Program (THV) as well as two related, ongoing evaluations that focus on the factors that influence father participation in home visiting and the factors that influence the retention of families in home visiting programs. The list below provides an overview of what home visiting is and what it looks like in the state of Texas. 

HOME VISITING IS A TWO-GENERATION APPROACH TO STRENGTHENING FAMILIES. Home visiting programs aim to support families by providing resources and building skills for parents and their children simultaneously. With regular visits, home visitors develop a relationship with the family, work with the parents to help the child achieve developmental milestones, and at the same time, aid the parents in achieving personal financial, health, and well-being goals. The two-generation approach better equips parents, which in turn provides children with a stronger foundation for future success.

THE FEDERALLY-FUNDED TEXAS HOME VISITING PROGRAM INCLUDES FOUR PROGRAM MODELS. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) created the Texas Home Visiting Program (THV) with the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV) grants awarded in 2010. THV aims to ensure that Texas children ages zero to five are healthy and prepared for school by promoting a seamless delivery of health and human services in high-need communities. Texas selected four evidence-based home visiting program models for THV based on the programs’ existing national- and state-level infrastructures and because of the four models, cumulatively, serve a broad range of target populations. The four models include: Early Head Start-Home Based; Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters; Nurse Family Partnership; and Parents as Teachers.

THE TEXAS HOME VISITING PROGRAM IS IN NINE COMMUNITIES ACROSS FOURTEEN COUNTIES. HHSC conducted a county-level needs assessment and identified the first seven communities across eight counties that would benefit most from THV. With additional grant funding, HHSC increased service to two additional communities to serve families in nine communities across 14 counties. The current THV communities are: Bexar County, Cherokee/Anderson Counties, Dallas County, Ector/Midland Counties, Gregg County, Hidalgo/Willacy/Cameron Counties, Nueces/San Patricio Counties, Potter County, Wichita County, and the City of Amarillo. Click for a map of THV by county.

THE TEXAS HOME VISITING PROGRAM SERVES HIGH-RISK FAMILIES. Though the characteristics of THV families vary by program model, they are all the high-risk families that MIECHV intended to serve. The majority (64%) of enrolled families are low-income, with a significant proportion living in poverty and 37% living in extreme poverty (below 50% FPL). Most of the enrolled parents are young (61% under 30 when they enrolled), Hispanic (76%), female (97%), and unemployed (64%). Twenty-six percent of THV children were enrolled before their first birthday, including while mom was pregnant. Almost half (46%) of THV parents are currently married and 42% have never been married. (THV Data, October 2013-August 2014)

THE TEXAS HOME VISITING PROGRAM IS EVALUATED ON SIX BENCHMARK AREAS. Texas is monitoring improvement among families who participate in the Texas Home Visiting Program across six benchmark areas determined by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The six benchmark areas are: Maternal and newborn health; Child injury and maltreatment; School readiness and achievement; Domestic violence; Family self-sufficiency; and Coordination and referrals for other community resources and supports. CFRP is conducting an ongoing, mixed-methods study to evaluate the implementation of THV and analyze the extent to which THV is showing improvement in the federal benchmarks.

For more about CFRP’s work on home visiting including policy briefs and posts, click hereClick for the PDF version.