The relationships between selected child health outcomes and programmatic interventions using home visitors are analyzed. The following features of seven programs are systematically reported: program characteristics; description of the home visitors; program objectives, sample size, and research design; outcome measures and reported data. A number of issues such as funding and long-term viability, use of professional or paraprofessional visitors, visitor selection and supervision, and evaluation of home visitor programs require clarification and are discussed. It is concluded that home visitor programs can contribute to child health outcomes such as increased birth weight, improved prenatal care, improved maternal-infant interaction, and improved use of community resources. Pediatricians can be supportive of such programs at many levels: becoming aware of the existence and range of services of home visitor programs in their area that serve families with children and referring families to those programs; being available to advise programs that are in the planning stages; providing advocacy at the local, state, and national level for the funding and development of such programs; and taking the initiative to join multidisciplinary efforts to develop new programs.
- Received April 26, 1989.
- Accepted July 17, 1989.
- Copyright © 1990 by the American Academy of Pediatrics