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Parent Involvement in Early Childhood Home Visiting

Abstract

This review provides an overview of an important aspect of early childhood home visiting research: understanding how parents are involved in program services and activities. Involvement is defined as the process of the parent connecting with and using the services of a program to the best of the client’s and the program’s ability. The term includes two broad dimensions: participation, or the quantity of intervention a family receives; and engagement, or the emotional quality of the family’s interaction with the program. Research that includes examination of parent involvement is reviewed, including examples from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project. Factors that influence involvement are noted, including parent characteristics, qualities of the home visitor, and program features. The need for further measurement development and implications of these findings for home visiting programs are discussed.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. The term parent is used to represent the primary adult caregiver for the target child, although others besides the parent (such as grandparents) may be in this role (see also the later section on family context).

  2. One prominent meta-analysis of home visiting programs provides mixed support for a link between parent involvement and program outcomes, in that it demonstrated a relation between amount of home visiting and child cognitive outcomes, but no relation between other measures of participation and any other program outcomes (Sweet and Appelbaum 2004).

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Acknowledgments

The findings reported here are based on research conducted as part of the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under contract 105-95-1936 to Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, NJ, and Columbia University’s Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, in conjunction with the Early Head Start Research Consortium. The Consortium consists of representatives from 17 programs participating in the evaluation, 15 local research teams, the evaluation contractors, and ACF. Research institutions in the Consortium (and principal researchers for conducting this research through 36 months of age) include ACF (Rachel Chazan Cohen, Judith Jerald, Esther Kresh, Helen Raikes, and Louisa Tarullo); Catholic University of America (Michaela Farber, Harriet Liebow, Nancy Taylor, Elizabeth Timberlake, and Shavaun Wall); Columbia University (Lisa Berlin, Christy Brady-Smith, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Allison Sidle Fuligni); Harvard University (Catherian Ayoub, Barbara Alexander Pan, and Catherine Snow); Iowa State University (Dee Draper, Gayle Luze, Susan McBride, Carla Peterson); Mathematica Policy Research (Kimberly Boller, Jill Constantine, Ellen Eliason Kisker, John M. Love, Diane Paulsell, Christine Ross, Peter Schochet, Cheri Vogel, and Welmoet van Kammen); Medical University of South Carolina (Richard Faldowski, Gui-Young Hong, and Susan Pickrel); Michigan State University (Hiram Fitzgerad, Tom Reischl, and Rachel Schiffman); New York University (Mark Spellmann and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda); University of Arkansas (Robert Bradley, Richard Clubb, Andrea Hart, Mark Swanson, and Leanne Witeside-Mansell); University of California, Los Angeles (Carollee Howes and Claire Hamilton); University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Robert Emde, Jon Korfmacher, JoAnn Robinson, Paul Spicer, and Norman Watt); University of Kansas (Jane Atwater, Judith Carta, and Jean Ann Summers); University of Missouri-Columbia (Mark Fine, Jean Ispa, and Kathy Thornburg); University of Pittsburgh (Beth Green, Carol McAllister, and Robert McCall); University of Washington School of Education (Eduardo Armijo and Joseph Stowitschek); University of Washington School of Nursing (Kathryn Barnard and Susan Spieker), and Utah State University (Lisa Boyce, Gina Cook, Catherine Callow-Heusser, and Lori Roggman).

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Korfmacher, J., Green, B., Staerkel, F. et al. Parent Involvement in Early Childhood Home Visiting. Child Youth Care Forum 37, 171–196 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-008-9057-3

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Keywords

  • Home Visitor
  • Parent Involvement
  • Healthy Start
  • Parent Engagement
  • Healthy Family