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Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting Program (MECSH)

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

In Brief

Last Updated

May 2013


Evidence of Program Model Effectiveness

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


Program Model Description

Based in Australia, the Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting (MECSH) program is designed to enhance maternal and child outcomes by providing antepartum services in addition to the traditional postpartum care women receive through Australia’s universal system for maternal, child, and family health services. MECSH targets disadvantaged, pregnant women at risk for adverse maternal and/or child health and development outcomes. Registered nurses conduct a minimum of 25 60- to 90-minute home visits, from pregnancy and until the child’s second birthday. During the visits, nurses focus on parent education, maternal health and well-being, family relationships, goal setting, and other issues such as housing and finances. Also available are parenting groups, activities to link families to the community, and referrals to other specialized care (such as dieticians and drug and alcohol counselors). For more information, please read the Program Model Overview.


Extent of Evidence

Results of Search and ReviewNumber of Studies
Released from 1979 to 2011 7
Eligible for review 2
     Rated high 0
     Rated moderate 2
     Rated low 0
     Additional sourcesa 0

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

Favorable: 0
No effect: 3
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 2
No effect: 6
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Not measured Not measured
Linkages and Referrals Not measured Not measured
Maternal Health

Favorable: 0
No effect: 6
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 1
No effect: 9
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Positive Parenting Practices

Favorable: 1
No effect: 5
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 0
No effect: 1
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

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? Yes
Any favorable impacts on outcome measures sustained at least 12 months after program enrollment?a Yes
One or more favorable, statistically significant impact reported in a peer-reviewed journal?a Yes

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.