As part of their ongoing “What’s Working” series, CBS This Morning looked at the impact of Family Connects, a universal home visiting program that has served 30,000 families in Durham, North Carolina. Home visiting has been proven to increase optimal child development and health, the confidence and competence of parents, and school readiness in children. It decreases child abuse and neglect, maternal depression, low-weight births and other preventable childhood health conditions. As the video below highlights, home visiting has also reduced medical costs, ultimately saving the state money.
While Oregon is making progress with important investments in home visiting programs, a lack of funding and capacity in the system means that too many families lack access to these essential services. Current programs serve less than 20 percent of eligible families.
In her Children’s Agenda, Governor Kate Brown proposes funding to provide home visits for all Oregon infants. Speaking with the Beaverton Valley Times, Dr. Alanna Braun of Oregon Health & Science University explained the value of the program:
“Having a new baby at home is stressful for everyone, regardless of income,” she said. “It’s a time of life when most anybody needs some help.” The idea of home visiting being universal throughout Oregon would be good, Braun said, because not everyone has the same easy access to a pediatrician or a hospital.
As Oregon’s population becomes more ethnically and linguistically diverse, culturally specific home visiting has also become increasingly necessary. For families who live in rural communities, the challenge of receiving vital home visiting services is further complicated by the lack of access to home visitors and increased driving time and costs.