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Train-the-Trainer: An Institute for Training Family Home Visitors

This three-day Institute focuses on building the knowledge and skills of those professionals training family home visitors. The professional's role as a trainer and content expert is examined simultaneously using a comprehensive curriculum that addresses recruitment, training, and supervision of experienced community people to provide in-home services for at-risk families. The curriculum enhances the capacity for professionals to deliver a family home visiting program.

The Institute is designed for professionals who train community people to deliver home visiting support to families at-risk.

Institute Features:
The Institute provides a rich and engaging learning environment that includes:
  • A comprehensive manual prepared by experienced Canadian experts in early childhood education, early intervention, child development, home visiting and family support.
  • A customization process that allows local communities the opportunity to ensure the manual and training reflect local philosophies, programs, and systems supporting families with young children.
  • 20 ready to deliver modules with training plans, activities, and handouts already prepared.
  • References to additional information and resources.
  • Diverse learning formats including small and large group work, expert presentation, video analysis, and case studies.
  • A participatory approach to training trainers and family home visitors.
Institute Goals:
  • To enhance and develop the skills of those training family home visitors.
  • To build local capacity to train family home visitors on an ongoing basis.
  • To affirm the importance of training for family home visitors.
  • To raise the level of knowledge and skills of professionals that work with at-risk families with young children and the role of a home visitor.
  • Affirm the valuable role family home visitors have in the lives of families.


  1. An Introduction to Family Home Visiting
    • Vision, goals and guidelines for the home visiting program
    • Services and resources of the host agency
    • The beginnings of team building
    • Concepts of health promotion, prevention and early intervention

  2. Conducting Home Visits
    • The role of the Family Home Visitor
    • Cultural sensitivity and understanding of the cultural barriers people face in Canada; strategies to address the issue
    • The importance of confidentiality
    • Safety issues during home visits
    • Strategies for increased personal safety

  3. Components of the Helping Relationship
    • The important elements in relationship building, i.e. trust, respect, support, communication
    • Steps to communicating effectively and problem solving
    • How verbal and non-verbal communication affects relationship building
    • Establishment of boundaries and strategies to maintain boundaries

  4. Hard to Reach Families
    • Barriers to building a trusting relationship
    • Strategies to engage families reluctant to home visiting
    • Adolescent parenting
    • Key issues faced by teens and supportive strategies

  5. Goal Setting – A Strategy for Change
    • What is realistic and appropriate goal setting with parents
    • The process of goal setting and planning with families
    • Principles of collaborative goal setting
    • How to support parents in building their self-esteem

  6. Reviewing Families and Supervision
    • The importance of sharing information with the supervisor and the team
    • The role of the supervisor in reflective supervision
    • What kinds of issues and concerns to bring to the supervisor
    • Accurate record keeping
    • Signs of a successful home visit

  7. The Prenatal Period
    • Components of healthy prenatal nutrition
    • Common physical changes during pregnancy
    • Physical symptoms/discomforts that require medical attention
    • Fetal growth and development
    • Strategies for supporting a family during pregnancy
    • Lifestyle and environmental issues affecting reproduction and the developing fetus

  8. Postpartum Care and Breastfeeding
    • Common physical and emotional aspects of the postpartum period
    • Diversity of beliefs and approaches related to the postpartum period and breastfeeding
    • Myths, misconceptions and benefits of breastfeeding
    • Postpartum care and breastfeeding – a family affair

  9. Attachment
    • The meaning of attachment and how it affects child development
    • How to recognize whether or not the parent-child attachment is going well
    • Promoting a secure attachment

  10. Parenting the Newborn
    • Characteristics and capabilities of newborn babies
    • Common concerns that parents of newborns express
    • Helpful hints to care for a baby in the early months
    • Strategies to support a warm relationship between baby and parents

  11. Child Growth and Development
    • Developmental milestones in the areas of: CognitionSpeech and languageFine and gross motorSocial and emotionalVision and hearingSexual development
      • Cognition
      • Speech and language
      • Fine and gross motor
      • Social and emotional
      • Vision and hearing
      • Sexual development
    • Planning developmentally appropriate activities
    • Importance of language in the early years
    • Signs of vision and hearing problems
    • Supporting families where there is a child with special needs

  12. Healthy Nutrition for Young Children
    • Safe and successful bottle feeding
    • Sequence of solid foods
    • Behavioural aspects of nutrition
    • Strategies for families to meet nutritional needs

  13. Parenting Young Children
    • Different parenting styles and their impact on children
    • Differences in temperament and how it affects child behaviour and the parent-child relationship
    • Understanding and guiding children's behaviour
    • Common issues for parents of young children, e.g., fears, aggression, sibling rivalry
    • Promoting positive parent-child interactions

  14. Child Health
    • Symptoms of illness or poor health
    • Appropriate referrals to a doctor or dentist
    • Recommended schedule of immunization
    • Differences in approaches to childhood illnesses
    • Dental care for young children

  15. Injury Prevention
    • Safety hazards and safety practices for injury prevention for infants, toddlers and preschoolers
    • Tips for home safety
    • Tips for safety in an outdoor play area
    • Information on product safety
    • Tips for talking to parents about child safety and injury prevention

  16. Child Abuse – Recognizing and Reporting
    • Definition of and factors contributing to child abuse
    • Indicators that a child may have been abused or witnessed family violence
    • Documentation of indicators of abuse
    • What to do if a child discloses abuse
    • Feelings that interfere with mandatory reporting
    • Provincial/Territorial child protection legislation
    • Reporting procedures and responsibilities
    • Supporting a family where abuse has occurred

  17. Family Violence
    • The cycle of violence and barriers to leaving an abusive relationship
    • Responding and supporting women who are victims of abuse
    • Indicators of children who witness family violence
    • Review of reporting procedure

  18. Coping with Stress
    • Common sources and symptoms of stress
    • Ways of reducing, responding to and coping with stress
    • How to recognize and cope with the stress of being a family home visitor

  19. Community Resources
    • Availability of local community resources
    • Services offered
    • Local activities, events and cultural organizations
    • Role of the family home visitor as part of the network of community resources for families with young children

Recommended Resources:
Videos, pamphlets, brochures, guides, books, posters to support the information explored in each module

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