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Early Head Start-Home Visiting (EHS-HV)

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Model Overview

Last Updated

May 2016


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.


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.


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.


Where to Find Out More

Administration for Children and Families
Office of Head Start (OHS)
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20201
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