Importance of Home Visits
We cannot emphasize enough how much the success of home visits can mean.
Often home visits are required for providers to participate in state and federal
programs. Home visitors who have the skills to connect with providers and
bring them support and guidance help retain the participation of many qualified
providers in these programs. The health and safety of young children as well as
the quality of child care can be greatly influenced by an effective home visitor.
Most states have programs that reimburse family child care providers (and
centers) for child care services given to parents who are income eligible or
receive other types of assistance. These programs allow parents to go to school
and/or work, giving them the opportunity to become self-sufficient. The child
care reimbursement programs require an accounting of the services being reim-
bursed. Most programs require a home visitor to monitor the attendance and
required services given to the child and family.
Yet in many of these programs, there has been a consistent reduction in
enrollment. For example, participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Pro-
gram (CACFP) nationwide has steadily declined. In 1996, 194,710 family child
care homes participated; in 2007, 141,985—a drop of 52,725 homes, or 27.1
percent. The CACFP program is particularly important to feeding income-
eligible children. Often these are the only nutritious meals many of these
children receive. When providers were asked why they dropped out of these
programs, the most prevalent answer was this: Providers felt the home visits were
invasive, and they did not like the way the home visitor enforced the regulations
and requirements. Clearly, the success of important programs like CACFP, for
example, depends a great deal upon good working relationships between home
visitors and providers.
Why Home Visitors Need Support
Home visitors may find themselves in conflicting situations when parents and
providers want to overlook some regulations. For example, your child care reg-
ulations may state that a baby must be on the same floor level as the provider at
all times. A mother may want the provider to put her baby down to sleep in an
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