The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which provides $1.5 billion to states over 5 years for home visiting program models serving at-risk pregnant women and children from birth to age 5. The act stipulates that 75% of the funds must be used for programs with evidence of effectiveness based on rigorous evaluation research. Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness reviewed the home visiting research literature and provided an assessment of the evidence of effectiveness for program models that serve families with pregnant women and children from birth to age 5.
Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness included a systematic search and screening process, a review of the research quality, and an assessment of program effectiveness. Reviewers rated studies’ capacity to provide unbiased estimates of program impacts and determined whether a program met the Department of Health and Human Services’ criteria for an evidence-based model.
As of July 2012, 32 models were reviewed, of which 12 met the Department of Health and Human Services criteria. Most of these models were shown to have favorable effects on child development. Other common favorable effects included health care usage and reductions in child maltreatment. Less common were favorable effects on birth outcomes.
Home visiting is a promising way to serve families who may be difficult to engage in supportive services. Existing rigorous research indicates that home visiting has the potential for positive results among high-risk families, particularly on health care usage and child development.