The Role of Home-Visitation Programs in Improving Health Outcomes for Children and Families

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Traditional pediatric care is often based on the assumption that parents have the basic knowledge and resources to provide a nurturing, safe environment and to provide for the emotional, physical, developmental, and health care needs of their infants and young children. Unfortunately, many families have insufficient knowledge of parenting skills and an inadequate support system of friends, extended family, or professionals to help with these vital tasks. Home-visitation programs offer an effective mechanism to ensure ongoing parental education, social support, and linkage with public and private community services. This statement reviews the history and current research on home-visitation programs and provides recommendations about the pediatrician's role in supporting and using home visitation.

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