Voices From the Field: The Experiences of the District’s Home Visitors
By Nisa Hussain, Program Manager
We are pleased to announce the release of a new report from the DC Home Visiting Council. Voices From the Field: The Experiences of the District’s Home Visitors highlights the strengths, challenges, and needs of the home visiting workforce in the District of Columbia.
Informed by survey data and direct quotes from home visitors themselves, the report sheds light on the deeply rewarding nature of a home visitor’s role, as well as the stressors that lead some to exit the field. As one home visitor described the role, “It’s like social work, case management, therapist, and cheerleader all in one job--an educator and advocate.”
This report will guide the Home Visiting Council’s continued work to support home visiting programs and their staff, as well as to illuminate the important yet undervalued role of home visitors to policymakers, stakeholders, and the public.
Home visitors shared deep satisfaction with their work and with the trusted relationships they have built with families. At the same time, home visitors also desire solutions to the challenges they face around safety concerns, misconceptions of their role, difficult work-life balance, and more. Low pay and a lack of professional growth are also main factors in low retention rates. The report describes more of these observations and challenges reflected in the day-to-day experiences of home visitors.
While the report primarily focuses on home visiting before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to recognize that home visitors have been a critical support to families navigating the enormous impacts of this pandemic and the challenges that existed before the crisis. This report captures the need for a strong home visiting workforce to best support families during these difficult times and beyond.