Resource | Brief

Introduction to Precision Home Visiting

Project: Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative

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For decades, home visiting has provided critical services to families so they can support their children in the earliest stages of life. Home visiting promotes positive parenting and has been proven to improve outcomes for both children and families.

In traditional home visiting research, studies typically compare the outcomes of families who receive home visiting services against the outcomes of families who do not. Precision home visiting research, in contrast, seeks to determine the elements of home visiting that work best for particular types of families in particular contexts.

Precision home visiting uses research to identify what aspects of home visiting work for which families in what circumstances.

This brief introduces readers to two principles of precision home visiting research:

  • Active ingredients, i.e., elements of an intervention empirically proven to be responsible for changes in specific outcomes
  • Meaningful subgroups of children and families, i.e., the process of grouping participants by factors such as their needs, strengths, and risk levels during the initial research design

It also provides a brief history of precision home visiting and outlines its future potential for—

  • Identifying the elements of a home visiting program that are essential to achieving desired outcomes for specific families
  • Identifying meaningful subgroups of children and families to help organizations better tailor home visiting programs
  • Matching families to the best possible programs and services for their individual needs, interests, and desired outcomes