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Study Detail

Chambliss, J. W. (1998). An experimental trial of a home visiting program to prevent child maltreatment (Doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University, 1998). Dissertation Abstracts International, 61(03B), 152-1628. (AAI9967277)

Program(s) Reviewed: Healthy Families America (HFA)®

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignSampleAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
HighRandomized controlled trialOther SamplesLowEstablished on race/ethnicity, SES, and feasible outcome measures in the analytic sample for some outcomes.NoneNone

High rating applies to the Child Protective Services crosscheck results (e.g., total count of any substantiated maltreatment reports up to 12 months). Other outcomes receive a low rating because of high attrition and failure to demonstrate baseline equivalence.

Study Characteristics

Study Participants Healthy Families Georgia staff screened the medical records of all first-time mothers for risk factors for child abuse and neglect. Mothers who were found to be at risk were screened further using the Kempe Family Stress Checklist (FSC). Families in which either parent scored 25 or greater on the FSC were assigned to the program group or the comparison group based on the day of the month (odd or even) of their child’s birth. Among eligible families, 249 agreed to participate and were randomly assigned to the program group (n = 130) or the comparison group (n = 119). The analysis for this study included 132 families (61 in the program group and 71 in the comparison group). At baseline, on average, women in the program group were 17.9 years of age and women in the comparison group were 17.8 years of age. The sample was 76.2% African American, 2.3% Asian, 8.5% Hispanic, and 13.1% White in the program group, and 70.2% African American, 0.8% Asian, 9.2% Hispanic, and 19.3% White in the comparison group. 71.5% of the program group mothers and 74.8% of comparison group mothers had not graduated from high school and 86.6% and 86.3% of the respective groups were unemployed at baseline.
Setting Eight counties in Georgia: Americus, Brunswick, DeKalb, Grady, Rome, Cordele, Gainsville, and Tifton.
Home Visiting Services Healthy Families Georgia has 12 components including “intensive home-based family support and education.” In the first year of a child’s life, the program provides for weekly visits to participating families by Family Support Workers (FSWs), for approximately one hour per visit. FSWs aim to develop trusting relationships with families, help them fill immediate needs, and provide various other services based on the families’ needs. Home visits decline in frequency as families meet specific predetermined goals.
Comparison Condition Control group families received incentive payments up to $100 for participating in data collection visits and mothers were referred to other community services on an as-needed basis.
Staff Characteristics and Training Healthy Families Georgia home visits are conducted by paraprofessionals. All home visitors have a high school degree and the authors report that many have completed college.
Funding Source Children's Trust Fund Commission of Georgia
Author Affiliation None of the study authors are developers of this program model.


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