Home Visiting

Mom holding baby on couch
Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher.

This is why we do our best to give new parents the support they need.

At Illinois Action for Children, we know that being a parent can be the most rewarding—and challenging—experience in life. To help you best help your children, we offer Home Visiting for pregnant women and families of infants, toddlers, and twos.

You are your child’s first—and most important—teacher. Our parent educators will partner with you, in your home (or one of our Early Learning Centers), in three key areas:

  • Child-centered parenting
  • Parent-child interaction
  • Family well-being

Parent Educators support families with child development information, family well-being, connections to community resources, goal-setting, screening, and gaining access to early intervention services if needed.

Parent Educators reflect the community that they serve and are culturally sensitive, providing visits in the parent’s home language when needed.

Every parent wants the very best for their children. By working together, we can make sure you have healthy interactions with your children to further their overall development.

Home Visiting Program Options

There are two programs that utilize Home Visiting to support families prepare their children for school-readiness. 

  • Early Head Start Home-Based Program: Families enrolled in this program model are from the community. Once enrolled, they are assigned a Parent Educator that will come to their homes and bring parent-child activities that support the achievement of developmental milestones and will provide resources and referrals to families as needed.

  • Prevention Initiative Center-Based Program: Families enrolled in this program model are from community childcare centers and Illinois Action for Children’s directly operated centers. Parent Educators are connected to infant, toddler, and two-year-old classrooms to support families with individual parent-child activities that support the achievement of developmental milestones and will provide resources and referrals to families as needed.

In each model, the Parent Educator comes to the family home with developmentally appropriate activities that parents can use to support their child's milestone achievements through their third birthday. Developmental screenings are completed throughout the year in collaboration with the parent. If there are any concerns, the Parent Educator will help guide the family through the referral process with the local Child and Family Connections office.

The Parent Educator will also help the family make goals, give referrals, and support the family with resources to relieve other stressors that can make parenting harder. There is also an opportunity for families to get together for a socialization group regularly. These groups allow time for parents and children to just play together as the parent observes their child's milestones. It also gives parents an opportunity to engage with each other and have conversations about life issues or issues around raising children. This support is vital in building community.


IAFCs Early Learning Parent Educators utilize the Parents as Teachers Evidence-Based curriculum model.

This internationally-recognized home visiting model is backed by 35 years of research-proven outcomes for children and families. The four main components of the Parents as Teachers model; personal visits, group connections, resource network, and child screening, create a cohesive package of services to achieve the goals of:

  • Increasing parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parent practices;
  • Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues;
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect; and
  • Increase children’s school-readiness and success.

All curriculum materials and resources are research-based and parent handouts are available in multiple languages to support the family’s home language needs.

  • The curriculum is implemented in the family home when possible, but can happen at the center, library, park, or other locations that may be convenient for the parent.
  • Research has shown that parents participating in Parents as Teachers Home Visiting programs read to their children more often and are more involved in their child’s school activities.

Research has found that 82 percent of children and families that participate in 2 years of Parents As Teachers programing and at least one year of preschool were ready for kindergarten entry.


Parents are encouraged to participate in socialization experiences at our centers. Socializations include a parent-child interaction activity that supports child development and a parent chat topic that is relevant to parenting concerns, child development, or family well-being. A nutritious snack is provided for families as part of the socialization experience.


It is important to conduct regular screenings of young children to help identify and address any issues that could be of concern. IAFCs Early Learning Programs administer the following child screenings:

  • Ages and Stages 3:  Series of questionnaires that monitor a child’s development administered by the parent and the Parent Educator every four months during home visits. 

  • Ages and Stages Social Emotional 2: A social-emotional screening tool administered every six months by the parent and Parent Educator during a home visit.

  • Life Skills Progression: A research-based, family-centered assessment measuring parent and child interactions and family needs. Parent Educators use the tool and partner with parents/guardians to develop an Individual Family Goal Plan within 60 days of meeting the family. The family-centered assessment and goal plan are updated at least every six months. 

  • Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICCOLO™): A checklist of 29 observable developmentally supportive parenting behaviors that shows what parents can do to support their children’s development, administered twice a year.

Home Visiting Supervisor

Home Visiting Supervisor Deborah Barnett

Deborah Barnett


Deborah Barnett’s education and experience includes a M.A. in Early Childhood Education and a current Professional Educator License with Early Childhood Endorsement. She has 11 years of experience as a certified Parents as Teachers Parent Educator, and 5 years as a PAT supervisor. She is also a trained doula and a certified Infant massage facilitator.  Prior to her 0-3 experiences, Deborah taught in early childhood classrooms in the South Suburbs. She has several years of experience as a Site Director and District Manager for a large child care organization.

As the Home Visiting Supervisor for the Early Learning Programs, responsibilities include:

  • Ensure fidelity to the Parents as Teachers model across IAFCs home visiting programs by providing reflective and administrative supervision to Parent Educators.
  • Ensure the fidelity of each program model in accordance with the funder requirements.

Early Head Start Parent Educators

Chicago Heights ELC: La'Tonya Allen and Alma Huerta (Bi-Lingual)

Ford Heights ELC: Karmen Steel and Amanda Lewis

Dolton ELC: Karen Parker and Shannon Coburn

Harvey-South Holland ELC: Carla Mosby and Amanda Salazar

Prevention Initiative Parent Educators

Danielle Campbell

Lucy Casillas (Bi-Lingual)

Angela Phillips

Rhondiseo Renee

Gaby Valdivia (Bi-Lingual)

Jasmin Vargas-Nuqui

Kenyatta Woody-Spann (Lead Parent Educator)

Developmental Milestones are Important

Our Home Visiting program will make sure you understand what abilities your child should possess, based on their age. We’ll also let you know what to do if your child isn’t reaching specific milestones. The sooner you get your child the right support, the sooner they’ll be on the right track. 

Parents as Teachers: Milestones by school readiness domain

Learn More

To learn more about Illinois Action for Children’s Home Visiting program, contact us.