Communities of Practice

The National Home Visiting Summit’s Communities of Practice are focused on developing peer learning communities dedicated to the most pressing issues in the home visiting field. The communities will utilize the learning group’s collective knowledge and experience to promote broad practice, policy and systems change/knowledge building. Each community includes a LinkedIn group, providing members with the ability to share resources and continue conversations between meetings.

We are excited to announce two separate communities. Each will focus on one of the following topics:

Sign up

Our communities of practice also interact via LinkedIn groups. To join, please click on the links below:

Advocacy & Policy

This community of practice on advocacy focuses on providing state and national advocates with sound policy information and outreach strategies to promote greater state and federal investment in effective home visiting services for children and families in need across our nation. As an integral component of advocacy, this community delves into policy issues that cross innovative financing mechanisms, a broad range of policy arenas, such as health, early childhood, anti-poverty and child welfare, among others, and outreach strategies to engage federal, state and local policymakers.

The community focuses on topics such as:

  • Promoting a broad range of funding sources for the expansion of home visiting services, such as Medicaid, TANF, and innovative financing mechanisms, such as pay-for-performance initiatives and tax policies
  • The intersection between child welfare policy and home visiting, including opportunities for the expansion of home visiting to the child welfare and similar populations through the Family First Prevention Services Act
  • Cultural and linguistic responsiveness of home visiting programs to provide effective services to diverse children and families
  • Understanding and messaging the national evaluation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to conduct outreach to policymakers and others
  • Pay-for-Performance initiatives in home visiting as a mechanism to finance expanded services and secure greater private and public funding for home visiting

Upcoming Meetings:

Facilitator: Karen Howard, vice president of early childhood policy, First Focus

Karen recently joined First Focus as Vice President of Early Childhood Policy. In that capacity, Karen is responsible for leading the organization’s work in cross-cutting policy initiatives that impact the early health, development and well-being of children, with specific emphasis on children at risk of significant health, educational and economic disparities. Karen has over 20 years of experience in the legal, policy and advocacy arenas. She previously worked as the Director of Policy for the Nurse-Family Partnership, one of the leading evidence-based home visiting programs. There, Karen was instrumental in helping to create and enact the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), which is a $1.5 billion grant program supporting the implementation and expansion of evidence-based and promising home visiting programs nationally to improve the early health and development of pregnant women, children and families living in poverty. Karen recently helped lead efforts to secure FY2015 extension funding for the MIECHV Program. Karen previously worked as legislative counsel in the office of Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) where she focused on health and education policy, including Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and No Child Left Behind, among other initiatives. Prior to that, Karen served as Deputy Attorney General in the Colorado Office of Attorney General where she supervised attorneys practicing employment and regulatory law and worked on higher education policy issues, such as affirmative action in higher education. Karen previously practiced product liability and employment law at private law firms in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.

Facilitator: Anne Gunderson, policy analyst, Ounce of Prevention Fund

Anne Gunderson is a policy analyst with the Ounce of Prevention Fund’s National Policy Team. She is supporting the work of developing a network-of-networks of early childhood providers. Gunderson has done systems work in the nonprofit space for five years. Before joining The Ounce, she worked with the Community Programs Accelerator at the University of Chicago as an organization consultant, providing technical support to nonprofit leaders and launching a support network for nonprofits that served similar communities. She has also worked within veteran nonprofit organizations as a program manager, grant writer and operations director, which has broadened her view on what systems are necessary for nonprofits and the communities they serve to thrive. She holds a Master’s Degree in public policy from the University of Chicago Harris School and a B.S. in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan.

Professional Development

The community of practice on professional development will provide community-based program and state leaders, policy makers and researchers a forum to engage about professional development within the home visiting field. This community explores facets of professional development to promote research-based and promising practices by practitioners and supervisors that advance their professional effectiveness. It also explores state level strategies and national initiatives that promote professionalism of the home visiting workforce. Membership in this community offers a venue for new connections to leaders in home visiting professional development. It also encourages members to add their expertise to an ongoing national discourse and to collaborate between webinars to endeavors that advance home visiting professional development.

Areas of focus include:

  • Dimensions of professional development including classroom and web-based training, coaching/mentoring, technical assistance and continuous quality improvement
  • Research efforts that shape and inform home visiting professional development
  • Innovations, initiatives and resources in professional development that advance practice and professionalism of the home visiting workforce

Upcoming Meetings:

  • August 14 at 2–3 p.m. CST. Click to register.
  • October 2 at 2–3 p.m. CST.
  • December 4 at 2–3 p.m. CST.

Facilitator: Janelle Weldin-Frisch, president, Prairie Learning Options

Janelle Weldin-Frisch, M.A., is a consultant for the Ounce of Prevention Fund, supporting the development of partnerships with state and national leaders on the use of web-based courses as part of professional development systems for early childhood education and home visiting. In her previous capacity as vice president for training at The Ounce, Janelle provided leadership in the design and development of professional development content and systems for the 200 home visiting programs in the state of Illinois. Utilizing her experience and educational background in adult and vocational education, Janelle led instructional design teams of home visiting model specialist, practitioners and subject matter experts to create competency based online courses for home visitors and supervisors. Today, those courses comprise many of the offerings available nationally to home visitors and supervisors through Achieve OnDemand™. Janelle recently left her position at The Ounce after 27 years to launch Prairie Learning Options, LLC, which specializes in strategic endeavors to promote the professional development of leaders and practitioners to maximize the potential of the next generation’s success in life.

Facilitator: Tracy Small, program manager, Illinois Birth to Three Institute, Ounce of Prevention Fund