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Making the Visit Worthwhile

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Though there is a wide variety of home-visiting models, experts have identified certain characteristics that can improve the chances for success:

Visitors should be flexible enough to meet with families whenever and wherever it is convenient. But they should also strive to schedule regular appointments.

Though the focus of the program is the mother and her baby, visitors should try to involve everyone in the home--such as a grandparent or older children.

One of the best things home visitors can do for new mothers is simply to listen.

Regardless of their level of education, home visitors need backup from professionals. They also need time to talk with other visitors and help in dealing with job-related stress.

To spark conversation with parents, it's helpful for home visitors to bring something with them that relates to the topic being discussed: a handout, a book, or a small toy for the child.

Visits should be discontinued if the visitor feels threatened or endangered in a home. Visitors should also be instructed on how to respond--and when to report--suspected child abuse or drugs in the home.

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