Family Support, Home Visiting, and Community Risk

Lead Department:

Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Home visiting programs are widely used dual-generation interventions that provide support to strengthen families with children under age five. Because states invest in multiple programmatic approaches to address the variety of challenges families face, they often develop fragmented, disconnected service systems that are difficult to evaluate or use to inform policy. Iowa is a national leader in home visiting, with a statewide approach that includes coordination among funders and program models through partnerships, and a shared data collection and monitoring system that facilitates program enrollment and indicator tracking. This study uses Iowa’s home visiting data system (DAISEY) with other state data to better understand the strengths and gaps among Iowa’s home visiting services for families with young children.

Findings in Action

The ECILS included birth-to-five cohort study that identified disproportionate risks experienced by many children that can be identified at birth and which relate to poor outcomes in kindergarten. It also highlighted groups of children and families who were less likely to participate in formal preschool — a known supportive factor that could facilitate more vulnerable children being ready for successful school outcomes. It was used to conduct the 2019 comprehensive statewide needs assessment for Early Childhood Iowa, which subsequently informed development of the ECI Strategic Plan, We Are ECI. This work is guiding statewide efforts such as addressing the child care crisis, expanding family support and knowledge to access relevant services, and tackling workforce shortages.

Primary Investigators

Janet Horras

IDPH Lead and Contract Director

Heather Rouse & Cassandra Dorius

ISU Analysis Lead

Community Advisory Group Members
  • Patricia (PJ) West, IDPH MIECHV Program Manager & Community Health Consultant

  • Anne Plagge, IDPH MIECHV Applied Research Coordinator

  • Shanell Wagler, IDOM Early Childhood Iowa Administrator

  • Amanda Winslow, IDOM Early Childhood Iowa Systems Coordinator

  • Lisa Bender, IDHS Prevention Program Manager

  • Jessica Bruning, IDPH Home Visiting Intern and ISU Graduate Student

  • Sarah Hernandez, University of Kansas, DAISEY Research Program Manager

  • Neil Rowe, University of Kansas, DAISEY Associate Researcher

  • Vital Statistics Birth Records (IDPH)

  • Home Visiting Records (IDPH)

This work has been supported by federal funding from the Health Research and Services Administration (HRSA) to the Iowa Department of Public Health for support of Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting programming, and by seed grants from Iowa State University and the College of Human Sciences to faculty investigators Heather Rouse and Cassandra Dorius. 


Results and Resources


Rouse, H.L., Bruning, J., Dorius, C., Wallace, L., Kelley, E. (2021) Technical Report: Birth Risks and Timing of Enrollment in Home Visiting. Prepared for the Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, IA.

Rouse, H.L., Bruning, J., Bahe, D., Wallace, L., Dorius, C., Roosa, K., Plagge, A. (2021). Advancing Connectivity for Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evaluation of Iowa’s Phones for Families Program. Prepared for the Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, IA.


Rouse, H.L., Dorius, C., Bruning, J., & Horras, J. (April, 2020). Data in Action: A State-University Partnership in Evidence-based Home Visiting. Invited webinar presentation for Data Sharing Community of Practice, Child Trends, Bethesda, MD.

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