Session: Home Visiting and Relations with Family Engagement and Outcomes: Implications for Social Work Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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261 Home Visiting and Relations with Family Engagement and Outcomes: Implications for Social Work Practice

Friday, January 22, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Symposium Organizer:
Samantha Brown, PhD, Colorado State University
A growing body of research shows the positive effects of home visiting programs on parent and child outcomes, particularly among underserved and high-risk families. Home visiting programs support parents in fostering safe and healthy home environments and developing parenting knowledge, skills, and resources. They are often tailored to address the unique needs of families. Given that the transition to parenting and early childhood are sensitive periods of development and parents play a key part in shaping the outcomes of their children, home visiting programs offer a way to deliver various prevention and early intervention services to families. Home visiting programs have demonstrated improvements in birth outcomes, child development and reduced risk factors, such as child abuse and neglect.

Although home visiting is overall beneficial to families, there are some areas for improvement. For example, much of the extant programming serves only mothers and young children. Evidence suggests that the participation of both mothers and fathers in parenting programs, more broadly, can result in even more positive effects on childhood health and well-being. Given that mothers and fathers play a crucial role in the outcomes of their children, home visiting programs that encourage participation of both parents is an important step to better serve families and meet their complex needs. In addition, there are also other factors that moderate home visiting program effectiveness. For example, program modeling, such as the community-based Healthy Start programming versus the evidence-based Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting programming influence home visiting outcomes; these models differ in their scope and service delivery. Moreover, factors such as family engagement, single-parent households, substance use, and parental mental health may also impede the capacity of home visiting programs to benefit families. Home visiting programs can greatly benefit from integrating social work professionals into program development and implementation given that they are equipped with skills to respond effectively to families' multifaceted concerns and trained to promote families' specific strengths.

This symposium will present evidence on the implementation and efficacy of home visiting programs, with a special emphasis on serving both mothers and fathers and their children and understanding other factors that may boost positive outcomes for families. Brown and colleagues will present results on feasibility and initial efficacy from a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a mindfulness-informed home visiting program aimed to promote healthy family functioning among mothers, fathers, and children at risk of maltreatment. Lee will present results on the process of program implementation from a multisite home visiting program that has prioritized father engagement in services. Bellamy and colleagues will present results on parent beliefs and expectations of program participation from a multisite clustered RCT examining a home visiting program serving mothers and fathers. This symposium will highlight key components of effective home visiting programming that will help to inform social work practice focused on engaging and serving families most in need.

* noted as presenting author
A Mindfulness-Informed Home Visiting Program for Adversity-Exposed Families
Samantha Brown, PhD, Colorado State University; Amy Smith, MS, Colorado State University; Tiffany Koppels, BA, Colorado State University
Using a Community Health Worker Model to Engage Fathers in Home Visitation
Shawna Lee, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Fathers' and Mothers' Beliefs and Expectations about Fathers' Participation in Perinatal Home Visiting
Justin Harty, MSW, University of Chicago; Aaron Banman, PhD, University of Nebraska, Omaha; Neil Guterman, PhD, New York University; Jennifer L. Bellamy, PhD, University of Denver
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