Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 283–301 | Cite as

Early Steps to School Success (ESSS): Examining Pathways Linking Home Visiting and Language Outcomes

  • Iheoma U. Iruka
  • Deborah Brown
  • Judith Jerald
  • Kimberly Blitch
Original Paper



Improving the home environment and parenting practices to support children’s early development and learning is a key focus of many. Home visiting is one potential strategy to improve the home environment and parenting; however, more data about current programmatic efforts is needed, especially for children with multiple risks living in low-wealth communities.


Secondary analysis was conducted using the Early Steps to School Success home visiting program data to examine the pathway through which home visiting participation is associated with children’s early language outcomes and whether this pathway varies by quantity of risk factors.


In addition to conducting regression analyses, multiple group path analyses were done to examine the indirect relationship between home visiting participation and children’s early language outcomes through the home environment and literacy practices, and variation of this relationship by risks.


Participation in home visiting was indirectly associated with children’s receptive language through a responsive and language-rich home environment.


Home visiting is one strategy to improve the quality of home environment and parenting practices, especially for children experiencing multiple risks.


Home visiting Cumulative risks Home environment Literacy practices Receptive language 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Iruka has no conflict of interest. Brown is a contract evaluator for Save the Children, developer of the Early Steps to School Success home visiting program. Jerald is an employee of Save the Children, and key developer of the Early Steps to School Success home visiting program. Blitch has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

While this is secondary data analysis of existing data, informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iheoma U. Iruka
    • 1
  • Deborah Brown
    • 2
  • Judith Jerald
    • 3
  • Kimberly Blitch
    • 4
  1. 1.HighScope Educational Research FoundationYpsilantiUSA
  2. 2.Brown Buckley TuckerBrattleboroUSA
  3. 3.Save the ChildrenWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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