Innovative Home Visiting Programs Offer Model Approaches That Expand Equitable Access and Increase Effectiveness for Immigrant and Refugee Families

Home visiting programs offer an effective way to promote the well-being and positive long-term outcomes for at-risk children and their parents or other caretakers. Yet even as this increasingly popular two-generation service model can help families improve school readiness and healthy development for children as well as successful health, education and employment outcomes for adults, immigrant and refugee families have lower enrollment rates than their U.S.-born peers.

A new policy brief from the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy examines innovative state and local approaches to home visiting, using case studies of King County, WA and San Diego County, CA, as well as the states of Illinois and Massachusetts. All four jurisdictions have focused on improving identification and access for immigrant families, and making their home visiting programs more responsive to the diverse and sometimes unique needs of immigrants and refugees.

The brief, Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families through Home Visiting: Innovative State and Local Approaches, offers a number of recommendations to improve the equitable participation of immigrant-background families in high-quality home visiting services.

Among the recommendations for policymakers and service providers:

  • Ensure that at-risk immigrant families are meaningfully incorporated into state needs assessments and prioritized for home visiting services alongside other at-risk families
  • Support linguistically and culturally responsive models that can effectively meet the needs of diverse communities
  • Locate home visiting programs within community-based organizations that are already effectively serving foreign-born populations, such as refugee resettlement agencies
  • Design procurement policies and processes to ensure access for programs deeply rooted in local communities and to facilitate growth of the research base on models effective in meeting the needs of immigrant families.

“A considerable and growing share of the nation’s young children live in immigrant families and disproportionately face risk factors that home visiting programs aim to mitigate,” said Margie McHugh, director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “Adjusting home visiting program and system designs to ensure these families are equitably and effectively served can lift the trajectories of young immigrant children and their parents, helping them to better achieve their potential in our nation’s classrooms, workplaces and society writ large.”

The brief is available here:

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is a crossroads for elected officials, researchers, state and local agency managers, grassroots leaders, local service providers and others who seek to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities today’s high rates of immigration create in local communities.