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Oct 26 2012

HomVEE Review: Early Head Start

This is the first article in a series featuring the home visiting programs in our network. Read the second article here, and the third installment here!

Early Head Start (EHS) targets low-income pregnant women and families with children from birth through age three (3) years, most of whom are at or below the federal poverty level or who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state.

The program model focuses on providing high quality, flexible, and culturally competent child development and parent support services with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s first, and most important, relationship.

EHS programs include home- or center-based services, a combination of home- and center-based programs, and family child care services (services provided in family child care homes). The focus of this report is on the home-based service option.

EHS home-based services include (1) weekly 90-minute home visits and (2) two group socialization activities per month for parents and their children. Home visitors are required to have knowledge and experience in (1) child development and early childhood education; (2) principles of child health, safety, and nutrition; (3) adult learning principles; and (4) family dynamics. For more information, please read the Program Model Overview.

Review of Studies

The Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) review identified 63 studies of Early Head Start-Home Visiting (EHS-HV) published between 1979 and April 2011. Of these, Of these, seven studies were eligible for review: four received a moderate rating, one received a low rating, and two were additional sources, which overlap with other studies, and were not rated. Across the studies with a moderate rating, one sample was used in the research. For more information, read the summary of ratings for each study. For more information on the criteria used to determine the study ratings, please read Producing Study Ratings.

Evidence of Program Model Effectiveness

DHHS-Criteria. This program model meets the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) criteria for an “evidence-based early childhood home visiting service delivery model,” because there is at least 1 high or moderate quality impact study with favorable, statistically significant impacts in at least 2 of the 8 outcome domains. At least 1 of these impacts is from a randomized controlled trial and has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.1 At least 1 of the favorable impacts from a randomized controlled trial was sustained for at least one year after program enrollment.

Additional information. Taking into account all of the review results as of April 2011, which include all high- or moderate-quality impact studies for this program model regardless of publication venue, this program model has28 favorable impacts and 2 unfavorable or ambiguous impacts. At least one of the favorable impacts was sustained for more than one year after the end of the program, but favorable impacts were not replicated in a study of similar quality using a different sample.

Read more on the US Department of Health and Human Services website.

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