Strong Families VERMONT. Start at Home

Strong Families VERMONT. Start at Home

We partner with the Department for Children and Families Child Development Division to deliver a comprehensive system of voluntary home visiting in Vermont. While there can be some variation regarding eligibility or length of service, all home visiting includes trained professionals  – nurses, social workers, child development specialists and more – who meet regularly with expectant parents or caregivers with young children in their homes. Home visitors partner with parents and caregivers to tailor services and resources to best meet the unique needs of each family. We work with families and caregivers to:

  • Recognize and build on the strengths of the family, parents and children in the home.
  • Teach parenting skills and model effective techniques.
  • Promote early learning in the home with an emphasis on positive interactions between parents, caregivers and children.
  • Provide information and guidance on a wide range of topics including breastfeeding, safe sleep position, injury prevention and nutrition.
  • Conduct screenings and provide referrals and connections to resources if necessary.
  • Connect families to other services and resources as appropriate.

Referral Process for Home Visiting Programs

The Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) model of uses a "no wrong door" philosophy, meaning there are many ways that parents and caregivers can be referred to the care and support they need in every region in Vermont. The model is designed to improve child and family outcomes by addressing gaps in services, prevention, early intervention, health promotion and accountability.

Vermont supports three evidence-based home visiting models:

Strong Families Vermont Nurse Home Visiting Program
Strong Families Vermont Nurse Home Visiting Program logoThe Strong Families Vermont Nurse Home Visiting Program, internationally known as Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home Visiting Program Home-Visiting (MECSH) is an evidenced based nurse home visiting model out of the Children’s Integrated Services (CIS)/Child Development Division (CDD).

Nurse home visitors in the Strong Families Vermont Nurse Home Visiting Program work with pregnant people (does not have to be first child) and new parents through the transition to parenthood, with continuing support until the child celebrates their second birthday. This Program supports healthy decision making and effective parenting through the joys and challenges of being a parent or caregiver. Parents and caregivers enroll in a free, voluntary program that is structured and customized to meet the family's goals.  

Referrals to the Strong Families Vermont Nurse Home Visiting Program should be submitted to the Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) Team in the appropriate region.


Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start promote school readiness of young children from low-income families through local community-based organizations, and are federally funded and administered by the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Head Start home-based option is one of Head Start’s comprehensive program options designed to meet the needs of preschool-aged children and their low-income families and increases the school readiness of the children served.

The Early Head Start home-based program option is a nationally recognized, evidence-based home visiting model selected for the Affordable Care Act’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and is one of Early Health Start’s comprehensive program options designed to meet the needs of low-income pregnant people and families of infants and toddlers. The Early Head Start home visiting program has been shown to improve child cognitive development, reduce child behavioral problems, enhance family well-being, and increase parental participation in educational opportunities.

Vermont’s Head Start and Early Head Start home visiting community partners and service areas served are:

  • Capstone Community Action: Lamoille, Orange, and Washington Counties
  • Champlain Valley Office Economic Opportunity: Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties
  • Early Education Services-Brattleboro School District: Windham County
  • Northeast Kingdom Community Action: Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties

Referrals for Strong Families Vermont may be submitted to the CIS team or the appropriate regional Home Health Agency. Referrals for Head Start and Early Head Start should be made through contact with community HS and EHS programs.

Parents As Teachers

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an evidence-based home visiting program that promotes the optimal early development, learning, and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers. Evidence shows that families engaging in PAT demonstrate:

  • Improved child health and development
  • Prevention of child abuse and neglect
  • Increased school readiness
  • Increased parent involvement in children’s care and education

Through funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Project LAUNCH grant, the Vermont Department of Health Division of Maternal and Child Health piloted PAT at three Parent Child Centers in Chittenden County. Starting in 2016, PAT is expanding to Children’s Integrated Services local implementing agencies across Vermont and Central Vermont Community Head Start as part of the Race to the Top, Early Learning Challenge grant.

Referrals to the Parents As Teachers Program should be submitted to the Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) Team in the appropriate region.