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Reducing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting: Parent-coaching programs in Illinois improve academic and health outcomes

Carpenter, Tim.;Isaacson, David.;Bishop, Sarah. – 2020

This brief reviews the positive impact that evidence-based, voluntary home visiting programs have on Illinois children and families during the prenatal-to-5-year-old period. It begins by explaining the law enforcement leaders of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids see how the lack of proper supports for families that face difficult circumstances can contribute to a continuance of crime and violence in communities and the benefits that evidence-based home visiting programs can provide. The brief notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the role that home visiting professionals play in the lives of families, as they pivot to visits through phone and video calls and serve as life-lines to families isolated from other means of assistance. Information is then provided on the use of multiple home visiting models in Illinois, and research findings are shared that indicate: home visiting can reduce child abuse and may help prevent future crime; home visiting and parental involvement boost academic achievement; home visiting can help curb the opioid epidemic; and home visiting programs save money. The brief explains mothers who participated in the Early Head Start home visiting program boosted their average annual earnings by $3,600 following participation, and the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) has been found, in most studies, to more than offset its costs by reducing government spending on welfare and other public assistance. The brief concludes by highlighting the work of the Illinois Prenatal to Three (PN3) Initiative and the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding towards reaching more families with evidenced-based home visiting. 24 references.