Giving Compass' Take:

• The Daily Beast profiles a group in Chicago called the Primo Center that helps homeless parents and kids, while examining how home visits in general give our most vulnerable young people a fighting chance at better lives.

• What can we do to support more programs like the Primo Center and initiatives that incorporate home visits among low-income populations? What are ways to best measure their impact?

• Here are ways to reduce childhood trauma through home visiting.


Two years ago, a new family — a young mother and her six kids — arrived at the Primo Center for Women and Children, a homeless shelter on the west side of Chicago. Mom had only a sixth grade education and the youngest child, a two-year-old girl, was hardly speaking.

“She was really limited in her ability to parent,” Christine Achre, the CEO at the Primo Center, told The Daily Beast.

Because her youngest was only two, the mother was eligible for a new program within the Primo Center: regular meetings with a home visitor, a type of parent coach who would help her build stronger parenting skills.

The program made a huge difference, Achre said. “Over these two years, we’ve really seen her blossom.” The two-year-old, now four, is smart and talkative — the staff at the Primo Center say that she’s going to be a lawyer.

She’s not the only one benefitting from home visits.

Each year, tens of thousands of at-risk new mothers and children benefit from home visiting programs, which send trained professionals to meet with families where they live. These can be as frequent as weekly home visits; the visits can last as long as three years.

Home visiting can take different forms, but the overall goal is the same: to improve maternal and child health, strengthen family relationships, and help ensure kids meet developmental milestones.

Read the full article about how home visits can help kids by Nicole Wetsman at The Daily Beast.