Home Visiting

Read Complete Research Material


Home Visiting

Home Visiting

Home visitation services represent one of the dominant early prevention strategies targeting physical child abuse and neglect in the United States and in a growing number of other nations. As the name implies, home visitation services provide services to families directly in their homes, most typically during the perinatal and early childhood phases of the children's lives (Wasik, B., Bryant, D. M., Lyons, C. M., 2001). Home visitation programs are varied in the specific activities and strategies employed, and seek to promote an array of positive family and child developmental outcomes, including the early prevention of physical child abuse and neglect. Typically home visitation programs initiate services very early in the life of a child, often at birth or even shortly before birth. With regard to physical child abuse and neglect prevention, families are usually engaged in services prior to any identified abuse and/or neglect (unlike child protective services), and therefore home visitation services are most appropriately categorized as a primary or secondary (and sometimes universal or selective) prevention strategy (Guterman, N. B., 2000). As no maltreatment has yet been identified, home visitation services identify families via universal service systems, such as the health care system, and are therefore designed to be nonstigmatizing and voluntary.

Service activities focus on ways of strengthening families that promote positive parenting patterns and child developmental trajectories and, in so doing, the aim is to reduce risk for future physical child abuse and/or neglect. Most typically, direct services focus on ways of supporting the development of a healthy parent-child attachment through parenting guidance, education, and skill development (Wasik, B., et al., 2001). As well, home visitors often focus efforts on helping families with information and support around infant health, home safety, and environmental challenges, and home visitors often link families up with needed resources and supports in the local community. Services are typically available during the first few years of each child's life and taper off as families' risks and stated goals are addressed over time. Depending upon the program type, home visitors may be nurses, social workers, or paraprofessionals with intensive training in the role (Wasik, B., et al., 2001).

Human Development Model

There have been many different approaches to explaining development, but one especially has tried to deal with the importance of the environment without ignoring the uniqueness of the individual. Urie Bronfenbrenner, and more recently along with Pamela Morris, has developed what is called an experimental ecology of human development or an ecological theory of human development (Bronfenbrenner, U., 1977). Within this model he stresses the importance of the developing person in his or her surrounding environment. He defines the phrase ecology of human development as the study of “the progressive, mutual accommodation, throughout the life span, between a growing human organism and the changing immediate environments in which it lives.”

The early model of the ecology of human development helps us in two primary ways as far as understanding human development. First, it places the interaction between nature and nurture in a very ...
Related Ads