Landscape Analysis of Home Visiting in North Carolina

Did you know that North Carolina has recently doubled the percentage of very young children and their families who are accessing early home visiting programs – and that our state still falls in the bottom 15 for access?

Our recent webinar Are More Home Visiting Programs Needed in North Carolina? outlined research demonstrating that, though North Carolina is fortunate to have a range of home visiting programs that have been shown to be effective, those programs just don’t have enough capacity for the children and families who need them.

If you missed it, check out the webinar recording or PowerPoint presentation to learn more about the recent national Home Visiting yearbook, just released last week, and our own UNC’s Dr. Paul Lanier’s work – Strengthening Systems to Support Families: A North Carolina Early Home Visiting Landscape Analysis.

North Carolina serves 2.4 percent of our infants and toddlers with home visiting programs. The current level of access to home visiting in NC, as measured by the rate of home visits, rates of children or families served, and rate of local provider agencies puts our state in the bottom 15 in the nation. The sector is growing, though – from 2016 to 2018, North Carolina has moved from the middle of the pack in our region of the country to second (Kentucky is first).

Dr. Lanier’s study used several methodologies – a literature review, a survey, and key informant interviews – to learn more about what programs are available in NC, where they are located, who has access to them, who provides the services, and what are the sector’s strengths and weaknesses.

Based on his findings, Dr. Lanier made some recommendations for next steps, including:

  • Create a statewide leadership structure for home visiting in North Carolina that is responsive to local needs.
  • Create a statewide action plan in concert with current initiatives like Think Babies and Pathways to Grade-Level Reading.
  • Find new funding streams for home visiting by looking to how other states do it.
  • Build the home visiting workforce.
  • Report on shared data measures across home visiting programs, including the voices of families.
  • Assess the fit, need for and usability of the various home visiting models in communities across the state.
  • Improve service coordination among home visiting programs and across other child and family services.

Dr. Lanier’s findings align well with the Pathways recommendations for shared measures and shared data across agencies, building a well-qualified workforce to support children and families, increasing home visiting capacity in the state, and making more cross-sector connections among health, early education, and family and community services.