Home Visits Help

Babies and young children in healthy, secure homes thrive. They usually develop the ability to become good students and successful adults.

However, in New Mexico, like elsewhere, there are some homes and communities where social conditions are more difficult and where some parents are not able to provide secure, nurturing family conditions. In these cases, visits by professional social workers to homes in trouble are very helpful. These social worker visitors are employed by state agencies or by other organizations and visit homes to provide advice and support.

Of course, reducing the various toxic stresses to which some communities are exposed is also important and cost effective. The parents benefit, and the children benefit. In addition, the larger community benefits.

The social worker visitor programs have various criteria for inclusion in their programs which help families with children from before birth to age 2 or 3. There are several Home Visiting programs in the Albuquerque area and in New Mexico. One such organization is www.parentsasteachers.org

All New Mexicans will benefit from a reliable system of visits to all parents who need help dealing with toxic family and community stress. We know that regular home visits as long as needed will result in long term benefits for the child and the community. Home visits for high risk families are moral actions. Also, the money spent is returned many times over as damage is prevented. Many studies have shown that there are real benefits, see this link, see this link, Schools, Skills and Synapses for one study.

Unfortunately, these excellent home visiting programs do not reach many of the children and families that need help. Those being helped are estimated to be between 3% and 20% of the high risk families.

Another misfortune is that the funding for home visits is erratic. The dedicated New Mexicans doing this valuable work know that they cannot rely on steady employment since funding of their efforts can change and has changed often. They are funded by a combination of charitable foundations and federal grants and other agencies. The New Mexico Legislature and our governors provide some financial support on a year to year basis. For example, in 2014 some money was taken from the Tobacco Settlement Fund and directed to early childhood intervention.