A few weeks ago, the Pew Home Visiting Campaign announced grants for 12 new research projects to pinpoint what works in home visiting programs. The studies, which will be conducted around the country, are designed to provide answers to a multitude of questions, such as how to involve fathers in these programs, what kinds of tools work best to evaluate their quality, and what kind of intensity (how many visits per month? how long should the visits be?) makes a lasting impact on children's growth and development. (Go here for a list of the 12 grant winners.)
As most readers of this blog know, home visiting programs send professionals to the homes of pregnant women and mothers of very young children, offering guidance about nutrition and health and how to support their children's development, month by month. The programs, which are usually administered by local government agencies or non-profit organizations, are targeted to women who are low-income or otherwise disadvantaged. Some of them are aimed specifically at first-time mothers. The passage of the health care bill in March provided a new stream of federal funding for these kinds of programs if they can show, via scientific studies, that they are effective.
For this podcast, we spoke with Jill Antonishak, research manager for the Pew program, to hear what we might learn from the new studies.