Home Visits & Parent Education

Minnesota's next governor should support voluntary home visits and parent education to strengthen families and promote positive parent-child interaction, so children are safe, healthy, and ready for success in school and in life. 

VISION: New and expectant parents will be offered voluntary home visiting and parent education services that  are matched to their needs and concerns. First time teen parents and other families under stress will be offered  more intensive services. Every Minnesota community will have quality evidence-based home visiting and parent  education services available for their families.

WHAT: Support, expand and build upon effective home visiting and parent education services so every first-time  parent is offered voluntary in-home visits or parent education by a staff specially trained to work with infants  and their parents. These services focus on the child’s health and development, maternal health, meeting the child and family’s basic needs, and addressing issues of concern voiced by parents to create a strong foundation for parenting and child development.

WHY: Some of our nation's costliest problems— child abuse and neglect, school failure, poverty, unemployment, crime and chronic health conditions— are rooted in early childhood. Children’s earliest experiences shape how the  architecture of the brain is developed and affect the child’s life-time health, behavioral and educational outcomes.  Parents are responsible for ensuring their child’s health and development but parenting can be a challenging job. Infants and toddlers with young parents, parents in  poverty, or those with health issues are at high risk. Voluntary home visiting and parent education are well-established ways to help parents become more effective, assess their risks and overcome obstacles. Addressing the needs and strengths of the family and child as early as possible in child’s life brings the best results for both children and parents.

THE CURRENT SITUATION: Minnesota can build on existing services and funding of effective home visiting services through the state and counties. Since the ROI (return on investment) is to the taxpayer is high for effective programs, current state funding ($8 million in TANF funds and $43.8 million in state and local funds for ECFE) should be preserved and Minnesota should seize the opportunity to take advantage of the new federal funds as they become available.

IT’S A GOOD INVESTMENT: Early investment in home-based parent support and education starts a positive chain reaction resulting in stronger families. Home visiting and parent education are an important part of early childhood services, particularly for children birth to three years of age. Evidence-based programs can document results: lower public expenditures for services and, improved health, self-sufficiency, behavioral and educational outcomes for families. Investing early in children and families is good for families and good for the public pocketbook.