Drop in Home Visiting Engagement during COVID-19


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A two-state study of programs that support low-income families indicated a decrease in enrollment and engagement due to COVID-19. The study was conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee about home visiting programs in Arkansas and Wisconsin.

The authors compared enrollment and engagement patterns ID for families pre-COVID (March 12 –December 31, 2017-2019) and post-COVID (March 12 to December 31, 2020). In 2020, enrollments decreased by 36% in Arkansas and 33% in Wisconsin. The percentage of expected home visits that were completed also decreased but at a much lower rate (5.4% in Arkansas and 1.6% in Wisconsin). The number of enrolled families that continued to receive services post-COVID remained consistent throughout the study in Arkansas, and in Wisconsin this number increased. Overall, while home visiting enrollments and visits decreased, client retention rates remained relatively stable during the pandemic.

The study provided specific indications for how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted home visiting programs. Possible reasons for the drops in enrollment may be due to safety concerns and a change in priorities for families. Although this study indicates how COVID-19 has impacted enrollment of disadvantaged populations that home visiting programs support, it can also open the doors to future research that aims to find out how to retain and engage families during times of emergency. Read more about the study here.