A new baby brings joy, along with lots of new challenges. For many parents, bringing a newborn home can be overwhelming. But, there are services and supports that can help.
Home visiting is a powerful proven tool to support and strengthen families. Voluntary home visiting programs match expectant and new parents with trained professionals, who provide family-centered coaching and mentoring, education, and support on an individual basis. Home visitors meet families where they are and foster the critical parent-child bond. Ultimately, home visiting reinforces parents’ own efforts and abilities to give their children the best start possible. These high quality home visiting programs are proven to increase families’ economic self-sufficiency, foster healthy child development, promote school readiness, and reduce child maltreatment.
Two-thirds of California families with babies and toddlers face substantial challenges, yet voluntary evidence-based home visiting programs reach fewer than 2% of California’s new families. In California, the four largest evidence-based home visiting programs are funded by various federal and local means, with no statewide investment or coordinating infrastructure.
California is ready for statewide home visiting investments. Proposed state budget for FY 2018-19 includes $26.7 million for a Home Visiting Initiative pilot program (allocating $158 million over three years, through 2021) for new parents in the CalWORKs program, which aligns with the intent of Assembly Bill 992. If approved, this would represent the first state funding available to support home visiting programs throughout California.