inTroducTion 3 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 HVM_guts.indd 3 1/26/10 5:52:25 PM