States across the nation are taking steps to support home visiting programs as they continue working with families virtually during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
This period of social distancing has highlighted the importance of home visiting in supporting families with very young children and combatting isolation. Among its recommendations for policymakers, ZERO TO THREE asks that the federal government provide funds for emergency uses to state administrators and Tribal grantees in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, allowing these funds also to be used to support home visitors not employed within the MIECHV program. In the meantime, however, states across the nation are taking steps to support home visiting programs as they continue working with families virtually during this public health crisis. Some examples include:
• Arizona Department of Health Services has issued tips for improving virtual home visits, including how to set up the webcam and visual space, audio tips and room recommendations.
• Connecticut Office of Early Childhood has ensured continued funding for all home visiting providers through FY20 and encourages tele-visiting.
• Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalition has issued guidance on planning for virtual home visits and staff working remotely during COVID-19. The document includes Critical Considerations for Providing Virtual Home Visits.
• Illinois Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and the Illinois Department of Human Services have issued guidance and a frequently asked questions document to guide virtual and phone visits. For updated information visit their COVID-19 webpage.
• Indiana State Department of Health issued COVID-19 Home Visiting Guidance for programs and includes information on virtual home visits and guidance for educating families about the pandemic.
• Iowa Department of Public Health has issued this guidance for virtual home visits and staff working remotely during COVID-19. They have also created a peer-sharing document for home visitors across the state to collaborate on a resource list.
• Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning has suspended face to face family support and home visiting services but all grantees will continue to receive payments. Home visiting and family support staff that continue to work will be reaching out to families to address needs, supporting families through tele/virtual visits based upon model guidance and completing trainings and exploring professional development opportunities.
• Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families provided [guidance](ttps://dcyf.wa.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/HVSA-COVID-032720.pdf) in an FAQ format including a section on “Tips and Tricks” shared by local implementing agencies.
In addition to state created resources, several national resources and recommendations have emerged in the last month to help guide states and home visitors as they embark on this new delivery model. • The National Alliance of Home Visiting Models released individual model guidance adapting service delivery. This guidance allowed for telehealth visits or regular phone check-ins.
• Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Administration for Children and Families have released language noting their commitment to the continued provision of home visiting services with the least disruption, including the use of alternative service delivery strategies, in alignment with model fidelity standards.
• Child Trends has highlighted telehealth outreach and strategies that states and home visitors may want to explore. They explore ways to adapt strategies from traditional home visiting as we move to virtual home visits during the COVID-19 crisis.
ZERO TO THREE will continue to track new state and national resources related to home visiting during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please bookmark this page and visit often to track updates. If you’d like to share what is happening in your state, please email [email protected].