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Implementing Early Head Start-Home Visiting (EHS-HV)

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Model Overview

Last Updated

May 2016


The information in this profile reflects feedback from this model’s developer as of the above date. The description of the implementation of the model here, including any adaptations, may differ from how it was implemented in the studies reviewed to determine this model’s evidence of effectiveness. Inclusion in the implementation report does not mean the practices described meet the DHHS criteria for evidence of effectiveness.


Implementation Support

Early Head Start–Home Visiting (the home-based program option) is administered by the Office of Head Start in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

ACF regional offices oversee the administration of ACF programs, including Early Head Start–Home Visiting. The regional offices guide the programmatic and financial management of Early Head Start–Home Visiting in their jurisdictions and provide assistance, resources, and information to the various entities responsible for administering these programs.


Theoretical Model

Early Head Start–Home Visiting is a comprehensive, two-generation federal initiative aimed at enhancing the development of infants and toddlers while strengthening families. The program is founded on nine principles: (1) high-quality services; (2) activities that promote healthy development and identify atypical development at the earliest stage possible; (3) positive relationships and continuity, with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s first, and most important, relationship; (4) activities that offer parents a meaningful and strategic role in the program’s vision, services, and governance; (5) inclusion strategies that respect the unique developmental trajectories of young children in the context of a typical setting, including children with disabilities; (6) cultural competence that acknowledges the profound role that culture plays in early development; (7) comprehensiveness, flexibility, and responsiveness of services that allow children and families to move across various program options over time as their life situation demands; (8) transition planning; and (9) collaboration with community partnerships that allow programs to expand their services.


Target Population

Early Head Start–Home Visiting targets low-income pregnant women and families with children birth to age 3 years. To be eligible for Early Head Start–Home Visiting, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start–Home Visiting programs must make at least 10 percent of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state. Each individual Early Head Start–Home Visiting project is allowed to develop specific program eligibility criteria, aligned with the program’s performance standards.


Targeted Outcomes

Early Head Start–Home Visiting aims to (1) promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, (2) enhance the development of very young children, and (3) promote healthy family functioning.


Model Components

Early Head Start programs include home- or center-based services, a combination of home- and center-based programs, and family child care services (services provided in family child care homes). The focus of this report is on the home-based service option. Early Head Start–Home Visiting home-based services include (1) weekly 90-minute home visits, and (2) two group socialization activities per month for parents and their children.


Model Intensity and Length

Early Head Start–Home Visiting programs provide one home visit per week per family (with a minimum of 48 home visits per year) lasting for a minimum of 90 minutes each. They also provide a minimum of 2 group socialization activities per month for each family (with a minimum of 22 group socialization activities each year).

Early Head Start–Home Visiting services are provided to eligible pregnant women and families with children from birth to 3 years of age.



Early Head Start–Home Visiting programs are operating in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.


Adaptations and Enhancements

No information is available.



The information contained on this page was last updated in May 2016.  Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the Office of Head Start on March 30, 2016. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.