Wisconsin Family Foundations Comprehensive Home Visiting Program

Since 2011, the statewide Wisconsin Family Foundations Home Visiting Program (FFHV) has supported pregnant women and families, and helps parents of children from birth to age five to engage with resources and develop the skills to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant offered through the federal Maternal Child Health Bureau provides the majority of FFHV funding. FFHV is led by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. FFHV is building a strong partner base to enhance supports for medical care, mental health care, early childhood systems, safety, and parenting in order to foster optimal programming and avoid costly service duplication.

Along with federally funded home visiting programs in other states, FFHV is working to improve outcomes in six focus areas:

  • Improved maternal and child health
  • Prevention of child injuries, child abuse, neglect and maltreatment
  • Increased school readiness and achievement
  • Reduced domestic violence
  • Improved family economic self-sufficiency
  • Greater coordination and referrals for other community resources and support

Who does FFHV serve and who provides the services?

The FFHV program serves at-risk families that live in high-risk communities identified through a needs assessment in 2010, with a reassessment of need in 2014. In 2011, Wisconsin used a Request for Proposal process to find FFHV grant-eligible communities based on the needs assessment and on the following risk factors:  high percentages of preterm and low birth weight infants, poverty and unemployment, high rates of substance abuse, domestic violence and crime, child maltreatment, high rates of infant mortality, school dropout rates, disproportionate rates of infant mortality among African Americans, and racial and ethnic disparities.

Qualified parent educators, registered nurses, social workers, and family support workers offer at-risk families weekly to monthly visits determined by risk and strength assessments and duration of program enrollment.

What models of intervention does FFHV use?

FFHV programs are voluntary for families, and utilize intensive, evidence-based models and strategies. Local control encourages culturally considerate, community-centered programming, while four evidence-based home visiting models assure improved outcomes.

Where is FFHV currently offerred?

FFHV serves more than 1,000 families statewide with intensive, evidence-based home visiting services. Wisconsin Family Foundations Home Visiting currently funded programs include:

  • Adams County
  • Brown County
  • Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (Bad River Tribe, Sokaogan Tribe, St. Croix Tribe, and Burnett County)
  •  Green County
  • Kenosha County
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe
  • Manitowoc County
  • Empowering Families Milwaukee
  • Healthy Families Milwaukee
  • Next Door (Milwaukee)
  • Northwoods (Lincoln, Oneida, Forest Counties)
  • Racine County
  • Rock County
  • Winnebago County

Resources and weblinks in support of home visiting

Annotated Home Visiting Publications:

Embedding Home Visitation Programs within a System of Early Childhood Services

Daro, D. Embedding Home Visitation Programs within a System of Early Childhood Services. Chapin Hall Issue Brief, University of Chicago, September 2009.

One of the Chapin Hall issue brief papers to support policy research that benefits children, families and communities, Deborah Dare highlights the importance of implementing the federal home visiting programs within the system of early childhood services. States can use this funding as an opportunity to focus on innovative ways to establish key program components of a continuum of early intervention and utilize continuous quality improvement to assure quality. Embedding Home Visitation Services within a System of Early Childhood Services (PDF, 302 KB)

The Role of Home-Visiting Programs in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Howard, K. and Brooks-Gunn, J. The Role of Home-Visiting Programs in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Preventing Child Maltreatment, The Future of Children, Vol. 19, No. 2, Fall 2009.

Kimberly Howard and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn in the Future of Children publication, Preventing Child Maltreatment, look at evaluations of nine national and international home visiting programs. They examined the programs' outcomes related to parenting and child wellbeing. Overall, the authors found little evidence that home visiting programs directly prevent child maltreatment. However, positive outcomes for the programs were found in areas of maternal parenting practices, quality of the home environment, and child development. Journal Details

Strengthening Programs through State Leadership

Johnson, K. State-based Home Visiting: Strengthening Programs through State Leadership, National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, February 2009.

Kay Johnson, with the support of the National Center for Children in Poverty, reviewed state-based home visiting programs in all 46 respondent states. As home visiting has increasingly been a strategy to improve pregnancy outcomes, parenting skills, and child health and development, the intent of the study was to inform the decisions of national and state leaders about home visiting programs to assure cost effectiveness and quality. State-based Home Visiting Strengthening Programs Through State Leadership.

Enduring Effects of Prenatal and Infancy Home Visiting

Olds, D., Kitzman, H. et al. Enduring Effects of Prenatal and Infancy Home Visiting by Nurses on Maternal Life Course and Government Spending, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 164, No. 5, May 2010.

David Olds and Harriet Kitzman and their collaborators reviewed the results of a randomized controlled trial among children at least 12 years of age whose families had received Nurse-Family Partnership home visiting services in Memphis, Tennessee. Findings showed the program improved maternal life course and reduced government spending among children through age 12 years. Content Abstract

The Case for Home Visiting

The Case for Home Visiting. Pew Center on the States Issue Brief, May 2010.

The Pew Center partners with policy makers and advocates to promote smart investments in quality, voluntary home visiting programs. This Pew Center on the States Issue Brief highlights the effects quality home visiting programs have on improving maternal and child life course for expectant and new families. Pew Center on the States Issue Brief

The Role of Preschool Home-Visiting Programs in Improving Children's Developmental and Health Outcomes

American Academy of Pediatrics. The Role of Preschool Home-Visiting Programs in Improving Children's Developmental and Health Outcomes. Pediatrics, Vol. 123, No. 2, February 2009.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms their support for home-based parenting education and support. This article gives a brief introduction and history of home visiting, highlights some benefits (including the cost-effectiveness of home visiting) and links home visiting to the pediatric medical home.  It also includes recommendations and links to national models. Article Details


Wisconsin First Step
Information and links to services for children and youth with special needs, their families and providers. Call 800-642-7837 to speak with a parent specialist. Information is available on services such as Birth to 3/early intervention, financial assistance, parent networking and support, home health care, therapy services, CYSHCN Regional Centers and more.

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Hotline
Information and links to services for pregnant and postpartum women and children. Call 800-722-2295 for information on BadgerCare Plus, WIC, HealthCheck, maternal depression, Prenatal Care Coordination, family planning, developmental screenings, and more.

Last Revised: September 22, 2015