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The Home Visit Forum held an initial meeting in 2000, providing an opportunity for members to share descriptive data, identify common definitions used in self-monitoring, and discover common performance issues across their programs. With a group decision to move forward, the Lucile and David Packard Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation awarded a grant to the Harvard Family Research Project in 2001 to guide the Home Visit Forum's future work. This further development was facilitated by Dr. Deborah Daro (the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago), Dr. Barbara H. Wasik (the Center for Home Visiting, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Dr. Heather Weiss (Harvard Family Research Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education).

Forum activities were directed by a theory of change, with the underlying premise that greater collaboration and partnership begins with learning more about others' procedures and operating methods. Given this, the process began with participating organizations sharing preliminary data (Phase One), in order to develop a strategy of change and an action plan to enhance learning across the organizations (Phase Two). Structured research projects, implemented in 2002, allowed participating organizations to expand their preliminary discussions and develop collaborative projects (Phase Three). In turn, these projects resulted in continuous shared learning and the development of products and research disseminated within the field at large (Phase Four).

This continuous learning loop helped individual services and programs improve their own internal effectiveness and processes, as well as their relationships with other service programs that shared common objectives. The projects and activities in Phase Three moved the six participating national models toward a more focused understanding of how home visitation services best fit within the broader field of early development and family support. The overall effect is better outcomes for children and their families.

The Operating Framework of the Home Visit Forum

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