Touchpoints for Addressing Substance Use Issues in Home Visiting
The Touchpoints for Addressing Substance Use Issues in Home Visiting (Touchpoints) project generated knowledge about how home visiting programs—including those funded through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program—can engage and support families to prevent, identify, and address substance use issues. The findings from the project identify areas where more information is needed and inform opportunities for future investigation. The project was funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and was conducted by Mathematica and its partners, Dr. Ron Prinz of the University of South Carolina, Dr. Darius Tandon of Northwestern University, and Dr. Norma Finkelstein of the Institute for Health and Recovery.
Home visiting aims to support expectant parents and families with young children by offering them “resources and skills to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn” (HRSA, 2019). Although the characteristics of the families served, the outcomes targeted, and the service components delivered vary by evidence-based home visiting model implemented, engaging and supporting families to prevent, identify, and address substance use issues is commonly one of the many outcome areas addressed by home visitors in their engagement with families. Despite this goal, minimal research has focused on the ways home visiting programs can effectively engage and support families affected by substance use issues. This report describes what is known and what needs to be learned about this topic. The findings contribute to existing literature on home visiting and point to specific research areas that may warrant further investigation by stakeholders to better understand how to work with families to prevent, identify, and address substance use issues.