Home Visiting Career Trajectories

In fall 2016, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families at US Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded the Urban Institute a contract to study the state of the home visiting workforce. The project examines the characteristics, qualifications, and career trajectories of home visiting staff and strategies to build a pipeline of qualified home visitors and supervisors.

The project includes two major components: (1) a national survey of the home visiting workforce, including home visitors, supervisors, and program managers, in local agencies receiving funding from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program; and (2) case studies in eight states involving semistructured interviews with program leaders and supervisory staff, as well as focus groups with home visitors. Together, these research approaches will address critical research questions, including the following:

  1. What are the characteristics of home visitors and their supervisors, including their demographics, qualifications, and employment history?
  2. What are the characteristics of home visiting jobs?
    1. What schedules do staff work? How flexible and predictable are their schedules?
    2. How much do staff earn? How do job earnings vary by degree and position?
    3. How do employee compensation and benefits compare with other fields?
  3. What are the career pathways of home visitors and supervisors?
    1. Why do home visitors enter this field?
    2. What are home visitors’ career goals and perceptions of advancement opportunities?
    3. What factors contribute to the recruitment, retention, and turnover of home visitors?
  4. What strategies do programs use to recruit and retain staff?
    1. What are program managers’ experiences recruiting qualified job candidates?
    2. What competencies are they looking for? What positions are challenging to fill, and why?
  5. What opportunities and challenges exist for professional development and training?
    1. What training needs does the workforce perceive?

 The study will result in several written products and dissemination activities that share key themes and findings related to the career trajectories of home visitors and their supervisors. Products are expected to be available in late 2019.

For more information, contact project director Heather Sandstrom at HSandstrom@urban.org.