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.