PROJECTHome 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.


Home Visiting Career Trajectories: Final Report
This report summarizes survey findings and key themes from the case studies. The study findings highlight the factors that support home visitors in their roles and ways in which home visiting staff feel challenged. Together, the survey and case study findings provide insights into the experiences of this diverse and understudied workforce and point to strategies that could further strengthen them.

Home Visiting Career Trajectories: Snapshot of Home Visitors’ Qualifications, Job Experiences, and Career Pathways
This fact sheet is a snapshot of the final report, highlighting findings on home visitors’ qualifications, job experiences, and career pathways. The findings show that home visitors have strong educational backgrounds and extensive job experience; their median earnings are approximately $36,000 annually, with supervisors earning slightly more; and 84 percent surveyed say they are very or somewhat likely to remain in their current position for the next two years.

Home Visiting Careers: How Workplace Supports Relate to Home Visitor Recruitment and Retention
This brief summarizes findings from the Home Visiting Career Trajectories study on workplace factors in recruiting and retaining qualified staff. Home visitors reported that flexible agency culture contributes to successful recruitment and hiring practices; suggested that using innovative practices to identify good-fit candidates can promote retention; identified several workplace features that boost morale and make them feel valued; and cited supervisory support as a key factor in their decisions to remain on the job.

Professional Development Supports for Home Visitors and Supervisors: Strengthening the Home Visiting Workforce
Based on the Home Visiting Career Trajectories study, this short report examines issues related to professional development for home visitors and supervisors. The variation in home visitors’ and supervisors’ educational and professional backgrounds and the range of home visiting models and staffing needs present a challenge in preparing people for the profession. The findings show that observational assessments and core competency frameworks can be used to measure home visitor performance and guide professional development; a widely used certification or endorsement for home visitors could encourage standardization in the field, though not without drawbacks; various in-service training opportunities are available to home visitors, but with cost and time constraints; and home visitors report a need for additional training to address sensitive situations such as domestic violence and substance use.

How Satisfied Are Home Visitors With Their Caseloads? A National Look at Home Visitors’ Perspectives on Caseload Fit
The success of home visiting programs depends on home visitors establishing trusting relationships with families. To allow home visitors sufficient time to develop these relationships and work with families, caseloads—defined as the number of children or families a home visitor serves—should be manageable. Caseloads differ for a variety of reasons. Yet little is known about how home visitors feel about their caseloads and how their caseload size affects their work experiences. This brief summarizes descriptive findings from the Home Visiting Career Trajectories project regarding staff perceptions of client caseloads.

Management Practices to Promote Home Visitor Retention: What Does a National Study of the Home Visiting Workforce Tell Us?
Home visiting programs in agencies funded by the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program use various management practices to onboard, train, and evaluate their staff. However, which practices are used varies between different programs and by program setting. Nearly all program managers reported using some practices such as reflective supervision and providing informal opportunities for feedback, while other practices including assigning peer mentors and training staff on assessing employee performance are reported less frequently. Additionally, home visitors’ intentions to stay in their job are significantly related to whether their programs use certain practices, including several less frequently used practices. These findings may prompt programs to consider assessing their current management practices.



For more information, contact project director Heather Sandstrom at [email protected].

Research Areas Families Children and youth
Tags Early childhood home visiting
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population