Home visitor preparation in higher education

Bridget A. Walsh, Kere Hughes-Belding, Laura Nathans, Kalli B. Decker, Carla A. Peterson, Lori A. Roggman, Mark S. Innocenti, Gina A. Cook, Hyun Joo Jeon, Patricia H. Manz, Tricia A. Woodliff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although home visiting is growing as a service for families with young children, the field does not adequately prepare the home visiting workforce, and higher education courses on home visiting are rare. Many home visitors are prepared through higher education as teachers, social workers, or nurses, which provides knowledge but few of the skills needed to collaborate with families to support their children’s development, revealing a need for focused pre-service preparation for home visiting. We conducted a qualitative study to (1) describe the present state of preparation in higher education and (2) propose recommendations for strengthening home visitor preparation via higher education. Focus groups (N = 43) were conducted at conferences that included some focus on early childhood home visiting. Individual interviews (N = 11) were conducted parallel to focus groups. Participants were faculty and administrators in higher education or home visiting related professionals. Using thematic analysis, three major themes surfaced: (1) learning, training, and awareness in higher education; (2) blending of a myriad of skills in home visiting; and (3) unification and support needs. Our findings emphasize the need for higher education to provide professional preparation for careers in home visiting. We offer recommendations to meet this need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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