EHS Home-Based Program/Services for Expectant Families

The  Early Head Start home-based program and services for expectant families promote parent-child relationships and helps parents provide high quality early learning experiences in all domains of development through home visits experiences and socialization experiences by utilizing a research-based curriculum that aligns with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five, Partners for a Healthy Baby. The home-based program supports families by allowing for the scheduling of home visits with the child’s parents or legal guardian in the family’s home. To the greatest extent possible, the visits are conducted in the family’s preferred language. If necessary, a translator may be needed to support and communicate with the family. 46 home visits are scheduled for each family annually, each lasting 90 minutes for each family. Home visitors plan activities using the assigned curriculum. They also share child information with the family, including observations, screening results and assessment data. The parents/legal guardians also share information regarding their child with the home visitors, which is also used in planning activities and assessing the child.

Services for expectant families are also conducted weekly in the home.  The program will help expectant families ongoing health care and health insurance, as appropriate. Comprehensive services (including nutritional counseling, food assistance, oral health care, mental health services, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and emergency shelter or transitional housing in cases of domestic violence) are provided through interactions with the home visitor, as well as our Mental Health , Nutrition and Health consultants. The program also conducts a newborn visit with each mother and baby, within 2 weeks after the birth of the child. Prenatal and postpartum information, education and services that address fetal development, importance of nutrition, risks of alcohol, drugs, and smoking, labor and delivery, postpartum recovery, parental depression, infant care, safe sleep practices, and the benefits of breast feeding is provided. Finally, the program addresses and provides support support for emotional well-being, nurturing and responsive care giving, and father engagement during pregnancy and early childhood.

The home visit experience focuses on high quality early learning experiences in the home and growth towards the goals described in the Head Start  Outcomes Framework. The program provides developmentally appropriate activities as well as opportunities for parent-child interactions. Individual goals identified by parents are blended into parent-child activities and individual adaptations are used to enhance children’s ability to engage in their own environments. Strategies and activities promote the home as a learning environment that is safe, nurturing, responsive and language and communication rich. For children who are dual language learners, strategies and activities are planned using research-based guidance. Home visitors also follow up with the families in between visits to discuss learning experiences, address concerns, and promote strategies for children to progress towards school readiness goals.

All socialization experiences are arranged for all children and expectant families twice a month. Group socialization experiences are for both child and parent. The experiences will include socialization activities that encourage children to interact with each other, explore, experiment, solve problems, create and exhibit self control. Activities will represent all areas of child development and include child-initiated and adult-initiated experiences, as well as indoor and outdoor play. Group socialization sessions are planned jointly with families and home visitors, based on families’ interests, needs and/or goals.