Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in New Jersey Through a Home Visitation Program

    • July 14, 2010

Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ), a state chapter of the nonprofit national organization Prevent Child Abuse, began an effort called the New Jersey Academy for Home Visitation Training in 2006 to:

  • Increase the quality and availability of home visitation services in New Jersey as a strategy to reduce child abuse and neglect
  • Support the practices of "evidence-based home visitation" in New Jersey by promoting collaboration and systems-building among programs engaged in home visitation

This project was funded under New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Key Results

According to Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Chapter, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families played a significant role in the expansion of home visiting capacity by providing much of the direct funding to sites for staffing. By working closely with them, the chapter's New Jersey Academy for Home Visitation Training:

  • Increased the number of New Jersey families that can be reached with evidence-based home visitation during any given year from an estimated 1,690 to 2,755. To achieve this increased service capacity, staff:
    • Conducted 33 training events on relevant topics for employees of home visitation programs from all 21 of New Jersey's counties. Total attendance for all 33 events was 1,075. Seven training events covered "core" subjects essential to evidence-based home visitation, including those required for certification by program sites. They included training in the use of:
      • The Kempe Family Stress Checklist (required by Healthy Families and being piloted by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families in many sites)
      • NCAST Feeding Scales (required by the Nurse Family Partnership national service office for their sites)
      • The Parents as Teachers Born to Learn® program (required by the Parents As Teachers national center for their sites)
  • Met with a number of potential new sites, programs and other stakeholders to promote home visitation—especially evidence-based practices—as a strategy to reduce child abuse and neglect.
  • Spurred collaborations among relatively isolated but similar programs in separate counties, or in separate communities within a county. Collaborations typically focused on efforts to share trainings and move toward shared client intake mechanisms. To educate people working in such programs as well as foster collaborations, staff sponsored six information sessions during the grant period, bringing together 493 home visitation stakeholders—for example, those doing home visitation or representing programs learning about home visitation and state or local health departments.