Policy Resource

Wisconsin's Early Years Home Visitation Outcomes Project

Jan 22, 2018

For fifteen years, the Early Years Home Visitation Outcomes Project of Wisconsin (Outcomes Project) advanced home visiting quality through a grass-roots effort to improve home visiting practice in Wisconsin.

Although the project ended in late 2016, it made lasting impacts on families, home visitors, and the broader home visiting field. The Outcomes Project of Wisconsin was a collaborative effort of service providers, funders, and evaluators that began in 2001. Ten home visiting programs, implementing different home visitation models, committed to collect common outcome data, implement best practices, and explore promising new practices.

The group developed five meaningful and measurable outcome measure that were based on best practice:

  • Parents interact with their children in ways that enhance children’s development and early learning
  • Children are healthy
  • Children live in a safe environment
  • Families access formal and informal support networks
  • Children achieve optimal milestones in development and early learning

Indicators to measure each outcome were also identified. The resulting framework allowed home visiting providers to collect consistent evaluation data across their programs and use it to guide decision-making to improve program quality. A diverse group of home visiting program sites began piloting the Outcomes Project in 2004. Participants included public and private service providers from rural and urban areas of the state. They utilized a variety of program models, including Healthy Families, Parents as Teachers, and hybrid models that draw on several sources for content. Participating programs used the same screening and assessment tools when working with families, including the ASQ Questionnaires, Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment Inventory, and Infant Assessment and Health Care Utilization Screenings. Programs input data into a secure central database administered by the Division of Public Health.

Outcome Attainment Reports were produced from 2008-2016. The project demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of using common outcome measures across programs. It also enabled Wisconsin to communicate the benefits families were experiencing from participating in home visiting. For example, the reports shared data on the percentage of children participating in Outcome Project home visiting who received a developmental screening, were found to have a potential developmental delay, and received at least one service within two months of identification.

Learn more about the contributions the Outcomes Project made to the field by reading the final report here.

Reviewed July 2018.