Economic evaluation of home visiting programs

By Barnett, W. S. (1993).

This article discusses economic evaluation of home visiting programs. Evaluations of this kind, including cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit studies, can help policymakers allocate limited resources and help both program planners and administrators improve their programs. Barnett reviews some of the important considerations when measuring the costs and outcomes of home visiting programs. In the Appendix to this article, he describes the steps that are taken when conducting a cost-benefit evaluation.

Despite the usefulness of economic evaluations, few have been done of home visiting programs. Barnett reviews in detail six studies which looked at the costs and benefits or cost-effectiveness of various home visiting interventions. Several of these studies are also described in the Olds and Kitzman article in this journal issue. Barnett concludes that these studies demonstrate the feasibility of economic evaluation of home visiting and the insights it can produce. He urges that economic analysis be made a regular and recognized part of home visiting research.