Success factors for a home visiting programme

Published: January 19, 2023

This evidence brief explores factors that are critical for a successful home visiting programme. The brief and the companion report with case studies will be used as a resource to better support Family Start programme partners in providing effective services to whānau receiving the programme.


Family Start is a home visiting programme for families with children up to five years of age. The programme is locally delivered by community, iwi and Māori organisations across New Zealand. An evaluation of Family Start in 2021 found that the programme had a positive impact overall; however, some aspects of the programme, such as the time limited nature of some activities, did not align to Māori world views.

This evidence brief is based on a review of international and national online home-visiting resources. The brief explores key indicators of success for a home visiting programme. The companion report to the evidence brief includes three overseas case studies on the programmes that support indigenous people.

Key findings

From the findings, there is a growing recognition of the importance of greater programme flexibility and adaptability to suit diverse communities. However, building increased flexibility needs to be carefully monitored and evaluated to ensure programme quality is not compromised and that positive outcomes continue to be achieved.

Successful home-visiting programmes have the following components: 

  • Antenatal participant recruitment
  • High frequency of visits
  • Programme choices aligned with whānau needs and circumstances 
  • Focus on the quality of helping relationships.

However, home visiting programmes are extremely diverse in the context under which they are developed, how they are delivered and core programme components. Accordingly, success factors are varied and specific to the context of operation. 

Next steps

The evidence brief will help Oranga Tamariki and its partner organisations to make evidence-informed decisions while considering any adaptations to the Family Start programme to make it culturally responsive and to better suit whānau needs.