Home Visiting

 
In 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department allocated $215 million in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds to Mecklenburg County to support the County's COVID-19 Strategic Recovery Plan. The plan focuses on key priority areas designed to improve the quality of life for Mecklenburg County residents impacted by the pandemic.  

Because children ages prenatal to five and their families are amongst those impacted by the pandemic, Mecklenburg County Commissioners have awarded $342,500 to Smart Start of Mecklenburg County (SSMC) to implement Smart Start's home visiting expansion plan, "Home Visiting: Equitable Evaluation, Growth, and Expansion of Services in Mecklenburg County."

To launch the home visiting expansion plan, SSMC created a new position, and is proud to welcome Veronica Kirkland as the new Home Visiting Expansion Coordinator. In this role, Veronica will develop a sustainable plan that coordinates, enhances, expands and advocates for high-quality home visiting programs to serve expectant and parenting families so that children are safe, healthy and ready to learn.

Parents struggling to figure out how to pay the bills, buy food, and afford medicine are under incredible pressure. Such high-stress demands can make the challenging task of parenting even more difficult and overwhelming--putting children at greater risk for learning disabilities, behavior problems, developmental delays, and health problems.

Home visiting programs are designed to mitigate those risks. They pair families with trained professionals who provide parenting information, resources and support throughout their child's first few years. Research has shown that high quality home visiting programs can increase children's school readiness, improve child health and development, reduce child abuse and neglect, and enhance parents' abilities to support their children's overall development. 
 

phases of home visiting expansion project

 
Current Status: Phase 1

smart start of mecklenburg county is focused on meeting the mandate of our county-funded arpa grant

current smart start-funded programs

 
These programs provide a range of home-based services to expectant or new parents. Home visitors may be professionals such as nurses or social workers or they may be trained outreach workers. Services vary by program and may include providing prenatal support, educating parents about child development, promoting positive parenting practices, encouraging and supporting parents; ensuring families have a medical provider, and connecting parents with services for their children and themselves.
 

WHY HOME VISITING?

 

according to the North Carolina Partnership for Children, programs like the Nurse- Family Partnership have shown a:

 

Home Visiting Benefits...

  • Families who meet certain income criteria and are:
    • Expectant and/or have children up to age 5
  • Note: Programs have more specific guidelines but services are inclusive of families who are:
    • ​​​​​​​Teen parents
    • Dual language learners
    • U.S. newcomers
    • Single fathers
 

DEBUNKING THE MYTHS

WHAT HOME VISITING IS...

  • Home visiting provides family support and coaching through planned, regular visits with a trained professional based on a family's needs and schedules.

  • Home visiting is a voluntary program. Home visitors work with parents on practical parenting skills and family bonding before birth and as children grow up.

  • Through partnering with home visitors, families learn how to improve their family health and provide better opportunities for their children.

  • Babies do not come with instruction manuals, but home visiting may be the next best thing, particularly during this time in a child's life. The prenatal and the first years of life are critical times for brain development that lays the foundation for future success.

  • Home visiting is a strengths-based service approach that meets families where they are at and together, creates a bridge to cross a "gap" in the family's life.

 

WHAT HOME VISITING IS NOT...

  • Babysitting - home visitors are not care providers
  • Punitive - home visitors are not children, youth, and family service agents

home visitation focus areas

Home visiting focuses on linking pregnant women with prenatal care, promoting strong parent-child attachment, and coaching parents on learning activities that foster their child's development and supporting parents' role as their child's first and most important teacher.

Home visitors also conduct regular screenings to help parents identify possible health and developmental issues which coincide with school readiness. Other focus areas include family economic self-sufficiency and community resources and support

PROGRAMS LOCAL TO MECKLENBURG COUNTY

EARLY HEAD START


 

NURSE FAMILY PARTNERSHIP


CHILD FIRST


 

P.A.T. - PARENTS AS TEACHERS


PARENT CHILD +


If you have questions or need to find a home visiting program, please email us here.