Symposium held to discuss home visitation programs
Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota hosted a Home Visitation Symposium Thursday at the North Dakota Heritage Center to share information on evidence-based home visitation programs that reduce child abuse and neglect.
"Home visitation has been around in our of state of North Dakota for many years and decades, and the value of it, from what we know from the research, is that these programs work to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect," Tim Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota, said.
"Our two targets for the day today was first to increase awareness of the issues of home visitation, and the second is to gather a state coalition together and discuss how we can improve what we're doing and move these programs forward," he added.
Home visits, Hathaway explained, involve a professional visiting a family's home to focus on issues that the adults in the home are dealing with, and usually includes an activity for the children in which the parent interacts with the child.
"One of the real benefits of being in the home is that we're on the family's turf at that point, there's a sense that the professional is coming to, and ready to, partner with the family where they're at," Hathaway said.
Speakers at the symposium addressed data generated from evidence-based programs to showcase the types of programs that are the most effective. Keynote speaker John Schlitt, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust Home Visitation Campaign, shared a summary of the nationwide home visitation research.
"Nationally, the programs that have been studied have very powerful outcomes for families, and for taxpayers, but not all programs are created equal. For the state of North Dakota, they really need to make sure that the investments they make are in the programs of the highest quality, and have the evidence behind them," Schlitt said.
"I think that today is a day when a lot of these local programs are coming together for the first time, figuring out how they can build a community of home visiting," he added.
Schlitt explained that while the state has implemented some quality programs, the programs should have more investment behind them to have their full impact.
"There are some good models, with some good data behind then, and North Dakota is implementing them, but they're doing it at a level that really doesn't penetrate any kind of significant number of high risk families in the state," Schlitt said.
"We need more resources into these programs because they deliver such an important benefit," he added.
Two such programs, the Nurse Family Partnership program and the Healthy Families of America program, work with at risk families. The programs have been proven to deliver benefits such as reductions in welfare use by the family, children less likely to be involved in criminal activity as an adolescent, children that are more prepared for school and healthier birth outcomes.
|Home Visitation-Minot Daily News|