Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Home Visiting Research Network: Measuring Quality for Research and Program Improvement

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 11:15 AM
Merrick I (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jill Filene, James Bell Associates
The transdisciplinary Home Visiting Research Network (HVRN) was established in July 2012 with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration as part of the Affordable Care Act to build the infrastructure for research to inform home visiting policy and practice. Its objectives are to: 1) develop a national home visiting research agenda; 2) advance the use of innovative research methods; and 3) provide a research environment supportive of the professional development of emerging researchers interested in home visiting.  This presentation will describe the mission and structure of HVRN, outline the research agenda priorities, describe the practice based research network, and describe one of HVRN’s current projects: measuring quality for research and program improvement. 

The HVRN is overseen by a Management Team made up of cadre of researchers with considerable background and experience in home visiting and early childhood service policy. A Steering Committee of national leaders representing stakeholder groups oversees HVRN progress. HVRN’s Coordinating Center supports Work Teams that conduct research on specific agenda priorities. 

HVRN’s first task has been to develop a national home visiting research agenda.  The home visiting research agenda prioritizes research on home visiting scale up, the recognized need to strengthen and broaden the benefits of home visiting across outcomes and population subgroups, and growing interest in identifying the core components of effective service models and implementation systems. 

The Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC), launched in late 2013, was developed to increase the partnership between early childhood services academic researchers and programs. It carries out multi-site studies with local home visiting programs.  It is not model- or funding-specific, and is open to any program that uses home visiting for expectant families and families of children birth to five years as its primary service strategy. HARC focuses on studies with immediate relevance to day-to-day practice.  Member programs choose studies in which to participate and can collaborate in designing studies so that the methods reflect their perspectives and results are most useful for decision-making. Studies range from simple surveys to complex multi-level designs.

HVRN’s first extramurally-funded project is to develop a comprehensive set of observational measures of the content and quality of home visiting. The goal is to create: a) a set of valid and reliable measures that can be used both in research and in practice; and b) the infrastructure to promote use of the measures.  Progress in developing the measures will be presented.  The measures are designed to be appropriate across home visiting models and across the full spectrum of outcomes specified in the Federal HV Program.  The instruments use complementary approaches to measure process – both second-to-second counts of behavioral markers and content and global ratings of the social-emotional and task-focused aspects of home visiting.  They yield ratings that are concordant with social interaction theory and adult learning theory.