Report | August 14, 2020

Increasing Public Safety with Evidence-based Home Visiting

Pennsylvania’s voluntary evidence-based home visiting programs can reduce child maltreatment and improve child outcomes and well-being

Giving birth to and parenting young children presents new opportunities and challenges for families. These challenges are often exacerbated for families who face difficult circumstances, such as poverty, unemployment, or single parenthood and those who have few positive parenting role models to look to for guidance. These families can benefit from the individualized care that evidence-based home visiting programs provide.

That’s why these voluntary programs have been proven to be so powerful. They offer mentorship from a trained professional starting as early as pregnancy and extending into the first few years of a child’s life on the premise that parents are a child’s first and most important influence. Through periodic home visits, parents are equipped with the tools and skills they need to stimulate and nurture their child’s development and avoid harmful parenting practices that can result in abuse and neglect.

We know that being smart on crime means investing in what addresses the root causes of crime including child abuse and neglect, lack of educational attainment, substance abuse and other social ills that we pay much more for later on with limited taxpayer dollars.

David W. Sunday, Jr., York County District Attorney

Home visiting also has benefits that extend well beyond the family. High-quality programs for high-risk parents may improve public safety by preventing children’s future involvement in crime, can increase academic achievement, and help reduce the use of substances such as opioids in the long run. They can also strengthen the economy by fostering families’ economic independence and helping children become productive adults. When parents take advantage of the resources available through voluntary home visiting, entire communities can benefit.

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