Pennsylvania Family Support Programs

What is Evidence-Based Home Visiting?

What is Evidence-Based Home Visiting (EBHV)?
EBHV programs help parents and others raising children with the supports necessary to improve maternal and child health—including mental health—improve child development and school readiness, promote family economic self-sufficiency, promote positive parenting practices, reduce abuse and neglect

Where do Home Visits Take Place? 
Families can choose when and where the visit happens. The Home Visitor can come to your home or a location of your choice. 

What does a Home Visitor Do? 
A Home Visitor will get to know you so that they can offer tailored support services to meet you and your family’s needs. They can offer ways to help create a safe and healthy environment for your young child to thrive in, helping you understand your child’s development and connecting you with additional community resources.

Where is Home Visiting Available? 
Home visiting programs are available for families across the state and ensure caregivers, babies, and children are healthier and that children are safer and more well-prepared for school. The programs also help develop more self-sufficiency for families. 

Because the models’ features vary, it gives families the option to select the program that best meets their needs.

Models might have different characteristics but they all:
– Are voluntary
– Focus on families with young children
– Deliver services in the home (or another preferred location)


Recent Professional Development

Click here to print the Early Childhood Home Visiting Infographic in English and Spanish.

EBHV Programs Currently Available in Pennsylvania

Child First helps to heal and protect young children and families from the effects of chronic stress and trauma by fostering strong, nurturing relationships, and connecting families with needed services.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Reductions in Child Maltreatment, Child Development & School Readiness, and Linkages & Referrals.

  • Reduces abuse and neglect, as well as the likelihood of experiencing traumatic events during childhood by utilizing a relationship-based approach to enhance parent-child interactions.
  • Improves children’s abilities to interact and connect with others by improving social-emotional functioning, reducing behavioral problems, and increasing language skills.
  • Increases family access and utilization of community-based services by developing a system of care approach to provide comprehensive, integrated services and support.

Eligibility Criteria: Child First serves pregnant women and families with children from birth through age 5 years in which (1) children have emotional, behavioral, or developmental difficulties; or (2) the family faces multiple environmental and psychosocial challenges (which Child First views as social determinants of health) that may lead to negative parent and child outcomes, such as maternal depression, domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness, or abuse and neglect. Families are served without regard for their legal status or the number of children in the family.

Early Head Start nurtures healthy attachments for low-income families parenting infants and toddlers, and for pregnant women and their families, through intensive, comprehensive child development and family support services.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Child Development & School Readiness, Child Health, and Positive Parenting Practices.

  • Improves cognitive, social, and emotional development, which enhances children’s language skills and school readiness and increases their likelihood of attending preschool or pre-k.
  • Increases childhood immunizations, decreases the prevalence of speech problems, and improves utilization of dental care among disadvantaged youth.
  • Increases family access and utilization of community-based services by developing a system of care approach to provide comprehensive, integrated services and support.

Eligibility Criteria: The Early Head Start–Home-based option serves low-income pregnant women and families with children younger than age 3. To be eligible for services, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start programs must make at least 10 percent of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state. Each individual program is allowed to develop specific program eligibility criteria, aligned with the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

Family Check-Up® supports strategies to better engage parents and parent-centered intervention for reducing problem behaviors in children from toddlers through adolescence.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Child Development & School Readiness, Positive Parenting Practices, and Reductions in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence & Crime.

  • Increases children’s ability to regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, improves academic achievement and acceptance by peers, and prevents problem behavior from developing into more severe psychological issues.
  • Facilitates positive interactions between caregivers and children by improving parental monitoring and use of positive behavior support, which increases the likelihood of caregivers engaging in proactive parenting rather than coercive parenting.
  • Reduces child abuse and neglect, family conflict, and the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors during adolescence and early adulthood, including involvement with deviant peers and substance use.

Eligibility Criteria: The intended population for this model is families with children who are at risk for conduct problems and academic failure and face familial adversity including socioeconomic disadvantages and maternal depression.

Families with children ages 2 through 17 years old are eligible for Family Check-Up. The federal review only included studies that used home visiting as the primary service delivery method, incorporated the Everyday Parenting curriculum, and focused on families with children ages 2 through 5 years old. 

Family Connects strengthens connections for families with newborns by linking them directly to supportive community care resources.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Child Health, Linkages & Referrals, and Reductions in Child Maltreatment.

  • Improves child health outcomes by decreasing the likelihood of emergency medical care use as well as overall utilization of emergency medical care.
  • Increases access and utilization of community resources by assessing family needs and connecting them to corresponding services to improve infant health and well-being.
  • Improves quality of the home environment and decreases the rate of child protective services (CPS) investigations for suspected child maltreatment by engaging families with resources associated with safety.

Eligibility Criteria: The Family Connects model is a universal model in which all parents of newborns in a community are offered a home visit with a nurse within about three weeks of birth.

Healthy Families America strengthens families by promoting positive parenting, enhancing child health and development, and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Reductions in Child Maltreatment, Child Development & School Readiness, and Maternal Health.

  • Improves caregiver stress as well as the quality of the home environment, while decreasing family’s likelihood of using violence as a form of punishment and having consequent reports with child protective services (CPS).
  • Increases the likelihood of children receiving early developmental screenings, being read to by caregivers, and receiving other activities that support development, which leads to improvements in social-emotional competence and overall mental health.
  • Enhances maternal health outcomes by increasing access and utilization of preventive care services, improving positive affect and problem-solving ability, and increasing rates of breast feeding.

Eligibility Criteria: HFA seeks to engage parents facing challenges such as single parenthood; low income; childhood history of abuse and other adverse child experiences; and current or previous issues related to substance abuse, mental health issues, and/or domestic violence.

The HFA National Office requires that sites enroll families before the child’s birth or within three months of the child’s birth. After families are enrolled, HFA sites offer them services until the child’s third birthday, and preferably until the child’s fifth birthday.

Nurse-Family Partnership pairs first-time, low-income pregnant women with nurses to improve pregnancy/birth outcomes, child health and development, and family economic self-sufficiency.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Child Health, Family Economic Self-Sufficiency, and Maternal Health.

  • Lowers the chance of childhood injuries, improves compliance with immunization schedules, and reduces the incidence of preterm births.
  • Improves the employment status and educational attainment of first-time mothers, reduces utilization of public assistance, and teaches mothers how to better plan future pregnancies.
  • Decreases maternal substance use, increases the likelihood of breast feeding, and improves maternal health outcomes.

Eligibility Criteria: NFP is designed for first-time, low-income mothers and their children. Mothers may invite fathers and other family members to participate in home visits. NFP requires a client to be enrolled in the program early in her pregnancy and to receive a first home visit no later than the end of the woman’s 28th week of pregnancy. Services are delivered until the child is 2 years old.

Parents as Teachers builds the capacity of parents to understand and support optimal healthy child development, develop effective parenting practices that strengthen the family foundation, and promotes school readiness.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Child Development & School Readiness, Positive Parenting Practices, and Reductions in Child Maltreatment.

  • Improves children’s academic achievement, mental health, and language skills, while lowering developmental dysfunction in the form of problem behavior.
  • Improves overall family functioning by improving parenting skills, knowledge about child development, and maternal ability to understand and respond appropriately to their children’s behavioral signals.
  • Lowers the rate of substantiated abuse and neglect reports among at risk families as well as prevents child maltreatment by moderating caregiver depression.

Eligibility Criteria: The Parents as Teachers model serves families with high-needs characteristics. Parents as Teachers affiliates select the specific characteristics and eligibility criteria of the population they plan to serve. Such eligibility criteria might include children with special needs, families at risk for child abuse, low-income families, teen parents, first-time parents, immigrant families, low-literate families, parents with mental health or substance use issues, or families experiencing homelessness or unstable housing.

The Parents as Teachers model is designed to serve families throughout pregnancy through kindergarten entry. Families can enroll at any point along this continuum. Curriculum materials provide resources to continue services through the kindergarten year if an affiliate chooses to do so.

SafeCare Augmented® uses motivational interviewing and other training to focus on three key outcomes that are universally important for families: creating positive relationships between caregivers and their children, ensuring homes are safe to reduce the risk of child injury, and keeping children as healthy as possible.

Research shows this model has the strongest outcomes in Positive Parenting Practices, Reductions in Child Maltreatment, and Reductions in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence & Crime.

  • Increases the rate of positive parent-child interactions as well as competency regarding child health by improving parent ability to respond appropriately to illnesses.
  • Improves safety in the home by teaching caregivers about hazard removal and increasing family likelihood of participating in child abuse prevention services.
  • Reduces the frequency of child welfare reports related to domestic violence in addition to lowering the rate of intimate partner victimization.

Eligibility Criteria: SafeCare serves families with young children from birth through age 5 years. The model is designed to benefit families with risk factors for child maltreatment. Populations served include young parents; parents with multiple children; parents with a history of depression, other mental health problems, substance use, or intellectual disabilities; foster parents; parents involved with the child protective system for neglect or physical abuse; parents being reunified with their children; parents recently released from incarceration; and parents with a history of domestic violence or intimate partner violence. The model also serves parents of children with developmental or physical disabilities or mental health, emotional, or behavioral issues. SafeCare is intended to complement the more specialized intervention services these families might be receiving from other agencies. SafeCare has been used with culturally diverse populations.

Family Support Provider Map

Maternal, Infant, & Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten entry. The MIECHV Program builds upon decades of scientific research showing that home visits by a nurse, social worker, early childhood educator, or other trained professional during pregnancy and, in the first years of a child’s life, improves the lives of en and families by preventing childabuse and neglect, supporting positive parenting, improving maternal and child health, and promoting child development andschool readiness. States, territories, and tribal entities receive funding through the MIECHV Program, and have the flexibility toselect home visiting service delivery models that best meet state and local needs. The MIECHV Program is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

Family Centers

Pennsylvania’s Family Centers provide community services to help families become stronger, healthier, better educated, and more self-sufficient. These centers help parents and caregivers:

  • Learn about their child’s development

  • Engage in parent education and child development activities

  • Access health care information, as well as assistance regarding health care services and insurance

  • Access education, training, and employment information

  • Receive information on and assistance with other community resources, such as well-baby care, immunizations, and Early Intervention services.

Each Family Center takes a unique approach to meeting its community’s needs. Services available may include:

  • Parents as Teachers (PAT) Program

  • Early Head Start

  • Parent Support Groups

  • Parenting Skills Programs

  • Child Health and Development Screenings

  • Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Program

  • Child Care Programs

  • Child Abuse Prevention Program

  • Language Skills

  • Literacy Programs

  • Adult Education

  • Job Training and Placement

  • Family Activities

  • Toy and Book Lending Libraries; and

  • Summer Activities and After-School Activities