Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: An Exploration of Family Home Visiting Programs Involving both Volunteer and Paid Visitors
Donovan, Maura Katherine
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The goal of this international study was to gain insight into a little-known approach to family home visiting: programs that make use of both volunteer and paid visitors. Using a qualitative embedded multiple case study design, I interviewed volunteers and staff at three such programs regarding the development of the service, and the strengths and challenges of this approach. Key findings suggest that this approach allows programs to provide preventative, universally available services; and to serve a greater number and broader range of families. These were important features given the local targeted, reactive service delivery systems. Common challenges included funding difficulties and some limited communication and workload issues. This approach shows promise as a way to increase program accessibility and impact. Considerations for program planners include the costs of qualified staff to coordinate volunteers and do home visiting, and organizational readiness to deploy volunteers effectively in home visiting roles.