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As families across California struggle with COVID-19, it is increasingly critical that children have the resources they need at birth to lay the foundation for lifelong well-being.1 Assets such as family, health, and financial resources are strongly associated with child health and resilience, and with fewer harmful experiences such as involvement in the child welfare system.2 When children are exposed to adverse experiences and toxic stress, early intervention tools like evidence-based home visiting can reduce or prevent negative outcomes.3 Home visitors, who are often social workers or nurses, provide parenting support and other assistance that can enhance child and maternal health and improve child development.

However, even before the COVID-19 crisis, too few California children were receiving home visiting support. In the 2018-19 state fiscal year, 41,800 children received federally and locally funded evidence-based or evidence-informed home visits, compared to the estimated 145,800 children ages 0 to 2 who would most likely benefit from such services.4

Now, with families facing significant long-term hardship due to the pandemic and recession, home visitors continue to provide critical support by connecting families to supportive services.5 State policymakers should provide funding to expand home visiting to more families and also increase support for televisits with current clients, many of whom have become less accessible to home visitors.6 Additionally, state policymakers should also support home visitors, who are also facing increased challenges related to COVID-19 and need additional mental health support as they serve families.7

Endnotes can be found in the publication PDF here.

Support for this Fact Sheet was provided by First 5 California. 

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