Across the country, state legislatures are turning to evidence-based policymaking to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. One example is family support and coaching. In response to research confirming that the early years of childhood affect learning, behavior, and health for a lifetime, many states have invested in these programs, commonly referred to as “home visiting.” Evidence shows that families that participate in home visiting programs, which focus on strengthening vulnerable families with children under age 5, are often more self-sufficient and better able to handle the challenge of parenting and to raise healthier, safer children.
However, for many reasons, including differences in family needs, culture, and the availability of supportive community services, past evidence of effectiveness alone does not necessarily lead to positive outcomes. Evidence must play an essential role throughout the life of the program, from legislation and planning to design and implementation. Ongoing performance monitoring is vital to understanding whether desired family and child outcomes are being realized. Several states have passed legislation to make home visiting programs more effective and accountable by requiring the agencies that oversee them to set goals and measure results.
Source: The PEW Charitable Trusts