2 inTroducTion In talking with providers throughout the United States, we quickly learned that a great number and variety of professionals visit family child care settings at one time or another. Identifying all the groups of professionals who visit family child care environments allowed us to create strategies that best serve all the professionals involved in this type of home visiting. Why We Wrote This Book Home visitors face many challenges, dealing daily with a great variety of per- sonalities, environments, and problems—each one as unique as the individual provider. This manual is written to equip home visitors with the skills and tools necessary to convey their messages in a manner that is acceptable and effective. Our hope is that this will result in home visits that are safe, positive, supportive, and motivationally interactive. In conducting home visits for the purposes of social work, state licensing, monitoring, or investigating complaints, we have found there is no magic for- mula for successfully addressing individuals in their homes. We have conducted home visits in the inner-city, rural areas, suburbs, public housing, and affluent neighborhoods. In addition, we have provided child care orientations, assisted families with child care issues, and presented trainings at conferences, work- shops, and in homes. Through the years, we have experienced many different and diverse situations and have dealt with an interesting variety of personalities. One thing we have learned is that when you are dealing with children and fami- lies, there is no end to the unique situations that can and do occur. This manual presents a variety of skills that will prepare the home visitor to meet these chal- lenges successfully. In preparation for the writing of this manual, we took an in-depth look at home visiting and identified areas in which we personally had experienced dif- ficulty. In addition, we sent questionnaires to forty individuals who visit family child care homes to identify common situations and a wide variety of problems. From the responses to our questionnaire as well as our personal experience, we identified a series of relevant skills that we feel will benefit every home visitor. Those skills are what this manual is all about. HVM_guts.indd 2 1/26/10 5:52:25 PM