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Study Detail

Barth, R. P. (1991). An experimental evaluation of in-home child abuse prevention services. Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, 15(4), 363-75.

Program(s) Reviewed: Child Parent Enrichment Project (CPEP)

Additional Sources:

Barth, R. P., Hacking, S., & Ash, J. R. (1988). Preventing child abuse: An experimental evaluation of the Child Parent Enrichment Project. Journal of Primary Prevention, 8(4), 201-217.

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
ModerateRandomized controlled trialNot applicableEstablished on race and socioeconomic statusYesNone

Mothers in the CPEP group who refused services or received fewer than five home visits were reassigned to the control group. Thus, we treat the study as a quasi-experimental design for purposes of the review, and an evaluation of attrition does not apply. The moderate rating applies to outcomes that were not assessable at baseline (health habits during pregnancy, child health, child development, and reductions in child maltreatment); those outcomes that could be measured at baseline (parent well-being and parent support) but were not controlled in the analysis receive a low rating.

Study Characteristics

Study Participants

Expectant mothers deemed at-risk for child abuse were referred to the study team by service providers in public health, education, and social services. Eligible mothers who expressed interest in the program were randomly assigned to either CPEP or a no-treatment control group. Random assignment occurred before the formal initial assessment interview by the CPEP team. Mothers in the CPEP group who refused services or received fewer than five home visits were reassigned to the control group. The analysis sample for the study included 97 mothers in the CPEP group and 94 mothers in the control group. The ethnic composition of the combined groups was 45 percent Caucasian, 17 percent African American, 31 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent of other or multiple races. Four in 10 mothers in the sample were on Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and 70 percent had incomes of less than $10,000. On average, mothers were 5.7 months pregnant when they began the program; 56 percent had at least one additional child at enrollment.


The study was conducted in Contra Costa County, California.

Home Visiting Services

CPEP clients received on average 11 home visits over the course of the six-month study, with a range of 5 to 20 visits. Paraprofessionals, known as parenting consultants, administered the intervention. Home visits were centered around task lists created by mothers in conjunction with the parenting consultant. Tasks might be completed by the mother alone, the parenting consultant alone, or together. Examples of tasks include visiting prenatal care or obtaining transportation.

Comparison Condition

Control group mothers received referrals to appropriate social and health services identified by the two-hour assessment interview.

Staff Characteristics and Training

Parenting consultants were paraprofessionals working at service agencies in the community. They received more than 100 hours of training in topics such as child abuse (including reporting) and perinatal development.

Funding Source

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Development Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Grants 90-CA-0988 and 90-PJ-000101. Bio-Medical Research Support Grant, Grant 2-507-RR07006. National Institute of Health, Division of Research, State of California Office of Child Abuse Prevention, Grant CB 33015-AI.

Author Affiliation

Richard Barth, the study author, developed CPEP and was involved in program implementation.


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