Thursday, November 19, 2009

Organizational Skills

One of the most exciting aspects of HIPPY has been to witness the professional growth and development of our home visitors. Part of our model is to recruit home visitors from the alumni, current parents and from the general population of the communities that we serve. HIPPY parents often make the most effective and dedicated home visitors because of their first hand knowledge of how HIPPY affected their own lives. It's quite a leap to jump from being participating parent to becoming a home visitor who works with 15 other parents. Our policy is to bring on home visitors, provide them professional development, support and training and then counsel them into other positions in the field of their choice. Many of them want to become educators, social workers and other helping professionals. Our challenge has been to capture their professional growth so we can better tell that story. Last year we piloted a "Know and Grow" checklist to measure how our home visitors grew over the course of the year with us. The area in which our home visitors grew the most was ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS/FLEXIBILITY: "Meeting deadlines, maintaining schedules, and adapting to change". At the begining of the year 42% strongly agreed that they felt comfortable in this area; this grew to 69% by the end of the year. For many of our home visitors, HIPPY is their first "job" and this shows that they are learning some valuable skills and gaining confidence in an area that will help them in their future work.

pic: Dallas HIPPY Home Visitors during weekly training, 2008-2009 school year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stay at Home Moms Data

Mommy wars? Seems that's missing the point. A recent report shows that stay at moms are "disporportionately low-income, less educated and often immigrant". Our current Early Childhood Education policies disproportionately focus on providing center based services to increase preschool services to children who need it the most. These efforts miss the opportunity to provide services to young children whose parents stay home and who still need school readiness. these findings also have implications for early childhood policy, where debates tend to focus on improving access to quality child care and preschool programs for disadvantaged youngsters. This data tells us that stay-at-home mothers disproportionately include women who do not have the educational background or resources that allow better-off parents to provide more robust learning experiences for their children. If that's the case, then policymakers may need to supplement efforts to improve child care with strategies that help that subset of stay-at-home moms support their children’s early development.

View the original report:

Read a policy summary from Ed Watch:
pic: a HIPPY parent reading to her child during a literacy event hosted by HIPPY Texas and Earning by Learning.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Health Bill Includes Home Visitation

US senate
Originally uploaded by Bo Gr├╝nberger
The US Senate Finance Committee released the legislative language on the Healthcare Reform Bill - a whopping 1,502 pages! They call it "America's Healthy Future Act of 2009". The purpose is "To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes." Deeply embedded in there (Section 1801, pp 453-480) is a section on home visitation, I guess that's one of the "other purposes" referred to. You can imagine the excitement in the field of home visitation that there might be some resources finally put into our work. However!... the fact that we're looped into such a contentious bill is a little nervewracking. Anyway, here's the overview of what they wanting to do about home visitation programs:

15 ‘‘(a) PURPOSES.—The purposes of this section are—
16 ‘‘(1) to strengthen and improve the programs
17 and activities carried out under this title;
18 ‘‘(2) to improve coordination of services for at
19 risk communities; and
20 ‘‘(3) to identify and provide comprehensive
21 services to improve outcomes for families who reside
22 in at risk communities.