E.g., 10/26/2020
E.g., 10/26/2020

Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families through Home Visiting: Innovative State and Local Approaches

Policy Briefs
October 2020

Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families through Home Visiting: Innovative State and Local Approaches

Home visiting programs are increasingly popular in communities across the United States. A two-generation model for health and social service provision, home visiting is designed to support both young children and their caretakers to promote their health, well-being, and long-term outcomes.

For immigrant and refugee families, home visiting can also offer integration-related supports, such as by helping parents navigate unfamiliar early childhood, health, and social service systems. But even though they make up an important segment of the at-risk populations these programs aim to serve, immigrant and refugee families are less frequently enrolled in home visiting programs than families in which the parents are U.S. born.

This brief highlights strategies adopted by some states and counties to address this gap. To do so, it looks at four case studies: King County, Washington; San Diego County, California; Illinois; and Massachusetts. Working with different populations and in varied funding environments, these state and local efforts illustrate key steps policymakers and program administrators can take to boost the equity and quality of home visiting services for immigrant families, such as by:

  • explicitly including at-risk immigrant families in program needs assessments and prioritizing them for services alongside other at-risk families;
  • incorporating community input into program design;
  • adjusting procurement processes to level the playing field for community-based organizations that seek to offer home visiting services and are well positioned to connect with families of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds; and
  • supporting research on what program models work well for immigrant and refugee families.
Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  Innovative State and Local Home Visiting Strategies
A. King County, WA: Using Funding Processes to Promote Equity and Inclusion
B. Illinois: Increasing the Focus on Trauma-Informed Care
C. San Diego County, CA: Pairing Flexibility and Targeted Investments
D. Massachusetts: Incorporating Immigrant Families into State MIECHV Needs Assessments

3  Lessons for Expanding the Accessibility and Quality of Home Visiting Programs

4  Conclusion