Sacramento, California - The California Home Visiting Program (CHVP) celebrated a landmark 100,000th visit this week as part of the state’s hands-on efforts to provide assistance to new parents and improve the health and wellbeing of children across the state. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) preventive intervention program focuses on positive parenting and child development.
“Home visiting is an effective intervention for at-risk children and produces positive outcomes for babies, families and communities,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “The California Home Visiting program provides low-income parents with the tools and skills they need to independently raise their children.”
Recent studies show that home visits by nurses or trained professionals during pregnancy and a child’s first years prevent child abuse and neglect, support positive parenting, improve maternal and child health, and promote child development and school readiness. Home visitors teach parenting skills, provide guidance on everything from injury prevention to nutrition, and offer referrals to needed services for families struggling with substance abuse, violence and mental health concerns. They also screen children for developmental milestones and promote early learning and a language-rich environment.
“Home visiting allows parents to build and develop trusting relationships with experts who can provide emotional and physical support for mom and baby during their critical first years,” said Dr. Connie Mitchell, Deputy Director of CDPH’s Center for Family Health, which oversees CHVP.
The state’s home visiting program began in 2012 and now includes 25 sites in 24 local health jurisdictions across the state.
“At the time I enrolled in home visiting, I was rebuilding my life and needed all the support I could get,” said Shannon, a Northern California mother who once struggled with addiction and is a survivor of domestic violence. “The relationship I developed with my home visitor has done wonders for repairing my confidence, getting me to a point where I believed in myself enough that I could return to college and get a degree."