Who We Are
An Institute for Professionals Using Home-Based Interventions with High Risk Families

This institute is designed as an opportunity for professionals who use home-based interventions when working with young children and their families considered to be very high risk. The Institute blends current research and practice to increase the skills and knowledge of professionals. Such topics as child development,intervention strategies, strategies for reaching, engaging and supporting families, parental mental health and working in an interdisciplinary context are explored over 5 days.

The Institute uses a multi-disciplinary approach appropriate for public health nurses, social workers, child protection workers, early childhood educators, infant development specialists, and physicians. The perspective of each discipline is explored and integrated into the manual and the Institute's interactive sessions.

Institute Features:
The Institute provides a rich and engaging learning environment that includes:
  • A comprehensive manual prepared by experienced Canadian experts in early intervention, child development, home visiting, and family support.
  • Evidence based strategies for home based interventions.
  • References to additional information and resources.
  • Diverse learning formats including group work, expert presentation, case studies, video analysis, professionally designed simulations, and panels.
  • Customized to reflect provincial programs and structures.
  • Delivered by a blend of Invest in Kids and provincially-based experts.
Institute Goals:
  • To raise the level of knowledge and skills of professionals that home visit high-risk families with young children.
  • Affirm the valuable role of the professional home visitor in the lives of families.
  • Enhance the competency of professionals in collaborating, gaining access to resources, and working in an interdisciplinary way to benefit families.
  • Facilitate the integration of new insights, knowledge, and skills in participants' own practice of identifying, reaching, engaging, and building effective relationships with high-risk families.


  1. Setting the Context
    • Dominant issues in multiproblem families
    • Advantages and benefits of home visiting
    • Research highlights on effectiveness of home visiting
    • Diversity of knowledge and skills of different professional disciplines who home visit
    • Process of high risk home visiting: locating, building a trusting relationship, assessment and intervention, level of visitation and disengagement
    • Clinical competencies

  2. Self-Care
    • Value and importance of self care in response to the “cost of caring”
    • Workplace stressors/organization
    • Impact of burnout and vicarious trauma
    • Impact of emotions evoked from ongoing work with overburdened families
    • Ecological model for prevention of STS

  3. Risk and Protective Factors
    • Summary of research on risk and protective factors, their complex interplay and how they influence healthy child development
    • Discussion of factors – the child; parental attitudes, behaviours and interactions; and parental history and current psychological functioning
    • Review of two approaches that assess factors and facilitate planning of interventions

  4. Healthy Child Development Continuum
    • Review of current research and link to practice
    • Brain development and biological embedding
    • Developmental tasks of self-regulation, communication; and reasoning and problem solving
    • Comfort, Play and Teach activities

  5. Cultural Diversity
    • Cultural competency in professional home visiting
    • Examination of personal values, beliefs and attitudes
    • Challenges of working with families from diverse cultural backgrounds
    • The social-contextual framework of child development
    • Strategies to establish and maintain culturally competent interactions

  6. Screening and Assessment
    • Distinct purposes and characteristics of screening and assessment
    • Common instruments
    • Family-centred, ecological team approaches to screening and assessment
    • Strategies and techniques for in-home interviews and observations
    • Integrating and analyzing assessment information to plan interventions

  7. Interdisciplinary Approach to Practice
    • Benefits of an interdisciplinary practice model on family and systems levels
    • Principles and key characteristics
    • Skills, processes and structures at the personal, professional and institutional level necessary for implementation

  8. Engaging Hard to Reach Families
    • Awareness of both professional and family attitudes and factors that make engagement difficult
    • Steps necessary to establish and build a working alliance
    • Strategies for successful first contact
    • Strategies for the ongoing development of a working relationship
    • Skills, knowledge and personal qualities that contribute to a working relationship

  9. Intervention and Family Support Strategies
    • Essential principles that guide interventions
    • Intervention approaches that focus on the child, the parent and the parent-child relationship

  10. Teen Parenting
    • Research on adolescent parenting
    • Factors that affect teens who are pregnant and/or parenting
    • Engagement strategies
    • Strengthening parenting competencies

  11. Parental Health Issues
    • Symptoms of and parenting issues arising from mental health and sensory challenges
    • Risks to child development
    • Practical intervention strategies to reduce risk of compromised child development

  12. Family Violence and Child Abuse
    • Indicators of child abuse and family violence
    • How child abuse and family violence impact child development
    • Appropriate responses to disclosure and legislative reporting
    • Specific intervention and review of community collaboration, coordination and cooperation

A Guide to Professional Home Visiting with High Risk Families
November 24-28, 2003
Metro Central YMCA - Toronto
$750 per person
Please contact Claire Woolford at ([email protected]) for more information.