Life Skills Progression (LSP): An Outcome and Intervention Planning Instrument for Use with Families at Risk

Authors: Linda Wollesen M.A., RN, LMFT, Karen Peifer Ph.D., M.P.H.; Foreword Author: Deanna Gomby Ph.D.

Format: Paperback w/CD-ROM, 224 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781557668301
Price: $49.95

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LSP at-a-glance


For use with at-risk families of children from birth to 3 years of age, the Life Skills Progression™ (LSP) is the only reliable, field-tested tool that provides the critical data home visiting programs need to demonstrate their effectiveness and receive support and funding. Generating a broad, accurate portrait of the behaviors, attitudes, and skills of both parents and children, the LSP helps professionals establish baseline client profiles, identify strengths and needs, plan interventions, and monitor outcomes to show that interventions are working.

View the recorded webinar: Improving Home Visiting Practice with the Life Skills Progression™ (LSP) presented by Linda Wollesen.

Home visitors use the LSP to measure a variety of family competencies. The tool is comprehensive and easy to use —in just 5–10 minutes, an experienced professional familiar with the family can record information on 43 scales in key categories:

  • relationships with family and friends
  • relationships with children
  • physical health care
  • basic needs
  • education and employment
  • mental health and substance abuse
  • infant/toddler development and temperament

Home visitors rate each competency from 1 to 5 on a simple form, where they can also record important case data such as how many visits have been attempted or completed. No judgment of family choices is implied — the LSP is used only to track the progress of children and parents, and can be repeated every six months until the child is 3.

Everything professionals need to use the LSP is contained in this all-in-one manual, which includes information on the tool's development and field testing, best practices in the field, detailed instructions on proper use, and the photocopiable tool itself. For easy printing of additional copies, the companion CD-ROM includes the entire tool and the instructions chapter.

Ideal for social workers, public health nurses, mental health care providers, and other home visitors, this essential tool will help professionals identify the needs of the families they serve, monitor their improvements, and vividly demonstrate the effectiveness of home visiting programs.

Recommended by Parents as Teachers, the LSP meets the new affiliate requirements for family-centered assessment and goal setting.


Review: Parents as Teachers
"Recommended by Parents as Teachers, the LSP meets the new affiliate requirements for family-centered assessment and goal setting."
Review by: Carol Singley, Coordinator of Parent Education and Parents As Teachers, The Parent Center, Salinas Adult School
"With the LSP we are able to provide funders with data that more clearly indicates growth across a broader spectrum of skills."
Review by: Jan Paulsen, Regional Office Coordinator, Monterey Head Start and Early Head Start
"Invaluable for program evaluation, planning, and reflective supervision."
Review by: Olivia de la Rocha, Director, Research Support Services, Evaluation Consultant to the Children and Families Commission, Orange County
"Wherever there is a need to measure a client-population's progress across a wide variety of psychosocial issues, the LSP will be a useful and informative asset."
Review by: Mimi Graham, Director, Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy, Florida State University
"[The] LSP is a valuable tool for home visiting programs. . . . It will help us monitor outcomes for children, families and our program which will make reporting much easier . . . and more impressive to our funders!"
Review by: Joanne Martin, Indiana University School of Nursing; Director, Healthy Families Indiana Training & Technical Assistance Project
"The long wait is over! Home visitors, supervisors, program managers, evaluators and funders have needed this tool for at least 10–15 years. Now we can document specifically what works and direct resources toward effective interventions."
Review by: Brad Richardson, Research Scientist and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Iowa School of Social Work
"The LSP helps demonstrate individual client achievements as well as programmatic achievements at the aggregate data level. More importantly, practitioners who use the LSP in their work are also required to utilize a strengths-based orientation; it is this aspect of the LSP that makes for more effective client interaction and improved outcomes for clients."

Table of Contents

About the Authors
Foreword: Deanna Gomby

1. An Introduction to the Life Skills Progression™ (LSP)

Supporting and Measuring Family Progress
Poverty and Poor Outcomes
Chapter Overviews

2. The History of the Chase: The Elusive Outcome

History of Home Visitation Data: Demographics, Outputs, and Outcomes
Impact of Maternal/Child Home Visitation Studies

3. Maternal/Child Home Visitation Best Practices

Defining Concepts: Best and Promising Practices
Best Practice Components of Home Visitation

4. Development and Field Testing of the LSP

Purpose, Target Population, and Development
Reliability and Validity Testing
Interrater Reliability and Need for Training
LSP Content Validity Review Process
Description of the LSP Scales: Design Content and Limitations
Gifts of Experience from Pilot Sites
Reflective Supervision in Pilot Studies

5. Instructions for Using and Scoring the LSP

Using the LSP
Heading Information
General Scoring Instructions
Basic Data Instructions
Scale Scoring Instructions

6. Reflective Supervision Using the LSP

Visitors Goals for Reflective Supervision
Supervisors Goals for Reflective Supervision
Reflective Supervision Characteristics
Use of the Initial LSP for Reflective Supervision
Use of Ongoing LSPs for Reflective Supervision
Use of the Closing LSP for Reflective Supervision
Use of the Cumulative LSP Score Sheet

7. Using the LSP for Evaluation Purposes

Section 1: Using the LSP for Program Evaluation
Section 2: Database Development

8. Integrating the LSP into Sites and Systems

Incorporation Plan Overview
Does Using the LSP Fit Program Needs?
What Are the Training Needs?
How Does the LSP Fit with Forms and Screening Tools?
How Does the LSP Fit with the Data Management System?
How Will LSP Data Be Used for Reports?


A. Life Skills Progression™ (LSP) Instrument
B. Abbreviations Used in the Life Skills Progression™ (LSP)
C. Emerging Best Practice for Home Visitation Checklist
D. Better Together: Home Visitation Community Collaboration PlanningWorksheet
E. LSP Data Entry Form
F. Sample Scored LSP Instrument: Selene and Jason
G. Selene & Jasons Story (as told with the LSP)
H. Cumulative LSP Score Sheet
I. Sample Cumulative LSP Score Sheet: "Selene and Jason"
J. LSP Instrument with Target Scores Shaded
K. LSP Data Report Planning Tool
L. Resources


The CD-ROM contains printable versions of the following PDF files:

About the LSP

Chapter Five: Instructions for Using and Scoring the LSP

Using the LSP
Heading Information
General Scoring Instructions
Basic Data Instructions
Scale Scoring Instructions: Parent Scales
Scale Scoring Instructions: Child Scales

Appendix A: Life Skills Progression™ (LSP) Instrument

Parent Scales (pages 1–4)
Child Scales (page 5)

Appendix B: Abbreviations Used in the LSP

Appendix E: LSP Data Entry Form

Appendix H: Cumulative LSP Score Sheet

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