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In Brief

Last Updated

October 2012


Evidence of Program Model Effectiveness

This program model does not meet the criteria established by the Department of Healthand Human Services(DHHS) for an “evidence-based early childhood home visiting service delivery model” for the general population or for tribal populations.


Program Model Description

Home-Start is based on the belief that all children should have the support they need to develop and thrive. The program is designed to increase parents’ confidence and foster the parenting, budgetary, and life skills necessary for positive outcomes for their children. Home visits are conducted by volunteers and are adapted to the needs of each family. Families typically receive weekly home visits and services usually last six months, but may continue for as long as the family has specific needs. In addition to home visits, Home-Start programs may offer family groups, post-natal depression support groups, healthy eating projects, or special support for fathers. Some Home-Start programs also organize social events and outings to bring local parents and children together. For more information, please read the Program Model Overview.


Extent of Evidence

Results of Search and ReviewNumber of Studies
Released from 1979 to 2011 19
Eligible for review 8
     Rated high 0
     Rated moderate 1
     Rated low 6
     Additional sourcesa 1

aAdditional sources overlap with another study and are not rated.

For more information, see the study database. For more information on the criteria used to determine the study ratings, please read Producing Study Ratings.


Summary of Findings

Outcomes Primary Outcome Measures Secondary Outcome Measures
Child Development and School Readiness Not measured Not measured
Child Health Not measured Not measured
Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Not measured Not measured
Linkages and Referrals Not measured Not measured
Maternal Health

Favorable: 0
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 0
No effect: 4
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Positive Parenting Practices Not measured Not measured
Reductions in Child Maltreatment Not measured Not measured
Reductions in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence, and Crime Not measured Not measured

Please read Describing Effects for more information on these categories. Only results from studies that meet the standards for the high or moderate ratings are included above.


Criteria Established by the Department of Health and Human Services

Information Based on Comprehensive Review of All High- and Moderate-Impact Studies for this Model
High- or moderate-quality impact study? Yes
Across high- or moderate-quality studies, favorable impacts in…
   at least two outcome domains within one sample
   the same domain for at least two non-overlapping samples?
Favorable impacts on full sample? No
Any favorable impacts on outcome measures sustained at least 12 months after program enrollment?a NA
One or more favorable, statistically significant impact reported in a peer-reviewed journal?a NA

NA = not applicable.

aThis information is reported for all program models, but the requirements for sustained findings and inclusion in a peer-reviewed journal only apply to models for which all findings are from randomized controlled trials.

Please read the DHHS Criteria for Evidence-Based Program Models for more information.