Understanding the Needs of California’s Home Visiting Workforce during COVID-19

Research BriefEarly ChildhoodDec 10 2020

In March 2020, home visiting services in California quickly shifted from an in-person format to an almost entirely virtual setting to meet new public health requirements put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This impacted the more than 15,000 families[1] across the state who receive home visiting services through programs administered by the California departments of Public Health (CDPH) and Social Services (CDSS), as well as individual First 5 county commissions.[2] While some home visiting models had been exploring the addition of a virtual component to home visiting service delivery,[3] the pandemic required nearly all home visitors in California—and across the country[4]—to make this change at once.

To help California learn the implications of its shift to virtual home visits, the COVID study team (study team) conducted interviews with home visitors and program managers during June and July 2020. In addition, the study team administered a survey to families from the home visiting programs represented in the interviews. This brief describes findings from these interviews and survey, including the implementation supports needed for virtual service delivery, the COVID-related challenges and stressors impacting home visiting staff and the families they serve, and families’ perspectives on virtual home visiting during the pandemic.