Best Practice Guidelines

The Office of Early Childhood Development is developing best practice guidelines for Illinois home visiting programs. These guidelines have been ratified by the Home Visiting Task Force. It is recommended that these guideline be incorporated into program plans and be used to guide practice.


Professional Development

The Ounce of Prevention Fund (the “Ounce”) is the recognized training provider for all home visitors in the following programs in Illinois: Healthy Families America; Parents Too Soon; and Parents as Teachers. Funding for Ounce training is provided through the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois State Board of Education, and Chicago Public Schools.

Other professional development resources for home visitors include the following:

  • Futures without Violence works with home visiting programs to provide domestic violence and child abuse training and education, including its Healthy Moms, Happy Babies In addition to promoting collaboration among home visiting, domestic violence programs, and health care providers, Futures without Violence supports home visitors to more effectively assess and respond to domestic violence and counsel clients on healthy relationships. Home Visiting Programs in Illinois can access the training by contacting the Ounce of Prevention Fund or asking their Infant Mental Health Consultant, if applicable.
  • Gateways to Opportunity is a statewide professional development support system designed to provide guidance, encouragement, and recognition to individuals and programs serving children, youth, and families. Home visiting staff can register on the Gateways to Opportunity Registry in order to monitor their professional development.
  • Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) is a not for profit, membership organization that works to eliminate violence against women and their children by promoting the eradication of domestic violence throughout Illinois; ensuring the safety of survivors, their access to services, and their freedom of choice; holding abusers accountable for the violence they perpetrate; and encouraging the development of victim-sensitive laws, policies and procedures across all systems that impact survivors. ICADV offers online and in person training opportunities.
  • Illinois Resource Center (IRC) provides assistance to teachers and administrators serving linguistically and culturally diverse students. With support from the Illinois State Board of Education, the IRC has emerged as a major statewide intermediate service agency, and its educational and professional development programs have helped thousands of educators throughout Illinois and the nation to develop effective learning environments for English language learners.
  • Mothers and Babies at Northwestern University is a program that promotes healthy mood, bonding with one’s baby, and strategies for pregnant women and new moms to cope with stress in their lives. Mothers and Babies can be implemented one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • Prevent Child Abuse Illinois (PCA Illinois) provides key leadership for child abuse prevention in Illinois. PCA Illinois is actively involved in prevention education and public awareness, community outreach, public policy advocacy, and promotion of effective prevention programs.

  • STARnet Northwest Region I and Central Region III provides a variety of opportunities for personal and professional growth for those who touch the lives of young children, ages birth through eight, with an emphasis on children with special needs. STARnet supports family-centered, researched and effective practices in early childhood education and care.
  • Strengthening Families Illinois (SFI) is a statewide movement to build six Protective Factors that keep families strong. SFI’s network of parent leaders is mobilizing thousands of parents to strengthen families in their communities. At SFI early childhood programs throughout Illinois, staff and families are partnering to keep children safe and families strong.
  • Department of Children and Family Services Training offers a variety of online trainings, including mandated reporter training.
  • 4P’s Plus© is the only validated screening instrument specifically designed to quickly identify obstetrical patients at risk for use of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs. For the past several years, NTI Upstream has been involved in developing and validating a screening methodology that will identify pregnant women at risk for alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. The 4P’s Plus© is a five-question screen specifically designed to quickly identify obstetrical patients in need of in-depth assessment or follow up monitoring. Taking less than one minute, it easily can be integrated into the initial prenatal visit and used for follow up screening through the pregnancy. The questions are broad-based and highly sensitive. For additional information on the 4P’s plus including a short training video and how to order books go to NTI Upstream.  For information on training within your program ask your Infant Mental Health Consultant, if applicable.

Required and Recommended Trainings for MIECHV Home Visiting Staff

MIECHV Health Recorded Webinars

OECD partnered with the DHS Maternal Child Health Nurses to record a series of webinars on health related topics important to home visitors and home visiting staff, including the following:

HOME Assessment Intro Webinar 2018: The HOME is the Parent Child Interaction Tool Required for MIECHV. For more information regarding the HOME and to obtain the tool, please contact Mary Anne Wilson at

Recommended Training Resources for SIDS – Infant Safe Sleep, Breastfeeding, Inter-conception, Immunizations, and Smoking Cessation

SIDS – Infant Safe Sleep Online Resources

Infant Safe Sleep Online Resources

Infant Safe Sleep Dialogue

Infant Safe Sleep Handouts in English

Infant Safe Sleep Handouts in Spanish


Safety and Home Visiting

The personal safety of home visitors while they support and partner with families is of paramount importance. The following resources are designed for home visitors, home visiting supervisors, and home visiting agencies regarding this issue. The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, in collaboration with the Ad Hoc Safety Workgroup of the Home Visiting Task Force, has compiled these resources and strongly encourages the Illinois home visiting community to review and incorporate them (as applicable) into their programs.

This portion of the website will be updated from time-to-time to include new, updated and additional resources. If there are safety-related materials that you think should be included on this website, please contact Lesley Schwartz at

Other Resources

  • An application for smartphones called “Every Block” shows the locations from where calls to the police have been placed within the last two days. This application enables one to see (from a geographical perspective) where specific activity has been reported within a community.
  • The “Healthy Moms Healthy Babies” initiative, contained on Futures Without Violence website, provides domestic violence and child abuse training and education to home visiting programs.
  • The website of the National Center for Community-Based Child Prevention provides a variety of resources from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, including a series of educational videos covering a variety of topics (e.g., general safety, family assessment, trauma-informed practices, domestic violence, mental health, fire arms, drugs, and child abuse and neglect reporting).

This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number HRSA-16-172 Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program – Formula. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.