Baby TALK Home Visiting is a home-visitation intervention for vulnerable, at-risk children between 0 and 36 months and their families. This program aims to address the mental health needs of young children and provide family support with the goal of reducing risk factors that could cause mental health problems and/or developmental delays. Baby TALK Home Visiting is typically delivered as part of the Baby TALK early intervention model, but can also be delivered as a standalone intervention.
The program focuses on supporting and reflecting/modeling healthy parent–child relationships in the early years to promote mental health and well-being and alter the trajectory of risk in a family’s life. The program is designed around the idea that community-based, early intervention programs may decrease the likelihood of poor outcomes for children, families, and communities.
Baby TALK Home Visiting typically consists of personal encounters in the homes of at-risk families by trained home visitors. Visits take place at least twice per month, with each visit lasting approximately 60 minutes, until the child is 3 years old. Vulnerable families with multiple risk factors may receive increased frequency and intensity of visits with a 60-minute visit once per week. Home visits are designed to include extensive, early childhood family-support services. Home visitors are trained in the Baby TALK curriculum on early development and age-appropriate protocols for guiding interactions with parents and children of the target age ranges. Focusing on the parent-child interactions to engage parents, practitioners work to holistically address the family’s needs and goals while using anticipatory guidance to support them through the child’s developmental milestones. Home visitors may also refer the mother and members of their families to other social services as appropriate. When families present high levels of risk, protocols and the curriculum can be tailored to provide the most detailed materials to parents.
The Baby TALK model is composed of four core program components: 1) building a staff of trained Baby TALK professionals to provide relationship-based, universal screening; 2) strategic placement of Baby TALK staff throughout the community; 3) creating a “trustworthy system of care” for participants; and 4) providing extensive, early childhood family- support services through personal encounters that employ Baby TALK “critical concepts” and use Baby TALK protocols and curriculum.