Alberta Home Visitation
Network Association

What is Home Visitation?

"My two year old had just started to walk and wasn't talking yet and he would get frustrated and have tantrums. She (my home visitor) had lots of experience with toddlers. She showed me how to wrap him up in a blanket so he wouldn't injure himself or me. She got to know me and my son. One time she said, "Well, try copying what he's doing, it will make him laugh." And during the week I tried that on my own and it worked!"

What does Home Visitation look like?

Home Visitation programs provide in-home parenting education and family support services to expectant parents and those with children newborn to 6 years of age. Home Visitation programs often serve families who face challenges that may place their children at risk and keep them from developing their full potential.

Home Visitation is a voluntary, free program for Alberta families. Home Visitors, parents, children and other family members meet weekly in the family’s home. The focus of these visits may include working with the family’s strengths, values and goals to build on parenting skills and child development knowledge, while supporting positive parent-child interaction and other aspects of positive family functioning.

Home Visitors build relationships with families with the aim of helping them identify and build on their own strengths. They provide families with tools to be successful in their parenting journey through ongoing support. Home Visitors can connect families with community agencies that can provide additional assistance.

Participation in the program can be long-term depending on the needs of the children and family. Weekly visits may gradually be reduced to monthly. Families generally enter the program during the prenatal phase or when the child is newly born. They may take part in the program for up to 6 years, depending on individual needs and specific program parameters.

Families are referred to Home Visitation programs by health care providers, community agencies or they can self refer. Contact your local Family Resource Network to find out how to connect with your local Home Visitation program.

Home Visitation is the key component of programs such as Healthy Families America, Healthy Start, Great Kids Inc., Parents as Teachers, and Teaching Family Model practice of several other programs including Head Start, Early Head Start and Early Intervention for Children with Developmental Delays

Goals of the Home Visitation Programs funded by Alberta Children’s Services:

  • Promote parent-child attachment and the importance of responsive caregiving
  • Support the development of healthy relationships within the parenting relationship
  • Increase knowledge of parenting and parental resilience
  • Enhance understanding of healthy child development and developmental milestones, including age-appropriate expectations.
  • Support caregivers to manage stressors, cope with challenges and adversity and develop planning, decision-making and problem-solving skills based on the goals and needs of their family within the context of the family home
  • Help families access the network of formal and informal services and supports available in their own communities
  • Promote family wellness
  • Help build strong communities

How do you connect parents with the community?

From a parent’s perspective:

“I have three children and near the end of the month when my Home Visitor came for a visit, I told her that we had run out food and I needed baby formula. She was able to make a referral to the foodbank and we were able to get some food.”

Why is it home-based?

From a Home Visitor’s perspective:

“Transportation is a big concern. Some of the mothers I see live on farms and don’t have vehicles during the day. The expense and effort involved in going to a centre-based program would be too much for them.”

From a parent’s perspective:

“I would not feel as open if I needed to see my home visitor in an office somewhere. I have other professionals working with my son in my home. She is there with me for those times and she makes me feel like my input is important.”