New Release: 2021 Annual Home Visiting Report

February 17, 2022
Blog Post

2021 demonstrated how home visiting services have been a real stabilizing force for many families with young children. According to the DC Home Visiting Council in its 2021 Annual Home Visiting Report, the District’s home visiting programs have quietly shown up for families in countless ways for two long years during the COVID-19 pandemic. While home visitors continue to use their training to center the growth of the family and their children’s development, home visitors have also been able to walk families through relief resources and coping strategies to stay afloat during an especially challenging time. As families continue to navigate this uncharted territory, they know they have a trusted family support worker or home visitor in their corner to support them in their parenting journey.

The report includes stories from home visitors and family participants to illuminate the large-scale and everyday ways home visiting services have changed lives, while also documenting the tangible work of the Home Visiting Council and the incredible impact of their member programs on families with young children in DC.

A few highlights from the report are:

  • 13 organizations implemented 17 home visiting programs across the District
  • In 2021, a total of 1133 families benefited from the support of a home visiting program.
  • 100% of programs have offered virtual visits since the start of the pandemic.
  • 55% of home visiting programs experienced a decrease in enrollment, due to difficulty recruiting families virtually and shifting priorities for families to focus on fulfilling their basic needs first or stretching their limited time to care for family members and their children. Many participating families were in “crisis-mode” and home visitors found themselves addressing those urgent needs first before the typical home visit curriculum.
  • Programs reported an overall increase in basic needs like rent assistance, supplies, food. For some programs, this rise stemmed from job losses in the families they worked with.
  • The majority of programs experienced frequent challenges teaching families how to navigate virtual visits. Home visitors noted a lack of technology (both WiFi and equipment) and varying levels of experience using virtual meeting platforms across families.
  • 55% of home visiting families experienced an increased need for mental health and domestic abuse resources

This year reminded us about several realities about the early childhood field: home visiting programs are truly a lifeline for the families that need an extra hand the most, and that home visitors are a resilient, inspirational, and crucial part of the early childhood workforce. This annual report outlines these realities and also highlights the many ways the DC home visiting landscape adapted and supported families this past year.