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Study Detail

Mitchell-Herzfeld, S., Izzo, C., Greene, R., Lee, E., & Lowenfels, A. (2005). Evaluation of Healthy Families New York (HFNY): First year program impacts. Albany, NY: University at Albany, Center for Human Services Research.

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

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignSampleAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
ModerateRandomized controlled trialNew York SampleHighEstablished on race/ethnicity, SES, and feasible outcomes. Statistical controls for feasible baseline outcomes included.NoneNone

Attrition rating is based on overall sample sizes because sample sizes for treatment and control groups were unavailable.

Study Characteristics

Study Participants Recruitment for the randomized controlled trial of Healthy Families New York (HFNY) occurred between March 2000 and August 2001. Pregnant women or parents with an infant 3 months of age or less who were found to be at risk for child abuse or neglect and lived in communities with high rates of teen pregnancy, infant mortality, and welfare receipt, and low rates of prenatal care were referred to HFNY. Consenting families were screened using the Kempe Family Stress Checklist (FSC); 1,297 eligible families who received scores of 25 or higher on the FSC were randomly assigned to the program group (n = 647) or the comparison group (n = 650). 1,157 mothers completed a baseline interview (589 in the program group and 568 in the comparison group). Of those who completed baseline interviews, 41.9% were African American, 17.0% were Latina, 33.7% were White, and the remaining 7.3% were of another race or ethnicity. On average, the mothers were 22.4 years of age, 52.3% had not completed high school or a GED , and 32.4% of the families were receiving welfare. This study reports on the first-year program impacts of HFNY, using a sample of 1,060 families who completed the first follow-up interview.
Setting Three Healthy Families New York sites were included in the study: Erie, Rensselaer, and Ulster counties. Erie serves primarily African American and Latino families in inner-city neighborhoods in Buffalo. Rensselaer and Ulster counties include urban, suburban, and rural locations; both serve largely White families, but with a substantial African American population in Rensselaer and Latino population in Ulster.
Home Visiting Services Participants in the program group were assigned to an HFNY home visitor. Home visitors were scheduled to visit families biweekly during pregnancy (if they enrolled prior to the birth of the child) and at least weekly immediately following the birth of the child. The frequency of visits was gradually decreased based on family needs, and visits continued until the child turned 5 or began Head Start or kindergarten. Home visitors emphasized activities to improve the parent-child relationship, help parents understand child development and improve child growth, improve access to health care, and improve family functioning through the development and use of a Family Support Plan.
Comparison Condition Members of the control group received information about and referrals to other community services, though they were not referred to home visiting services that were similar to HFNY (DuMont et al., 2008).
Staff Characteristics and Training New HFNY staff members are required to attend an initial one-week training and to shadow and receive mentorship from experienced home visitors. “Intensive wraparound” training and ongoing training were provided to all staff.
Funding Source New York State Office of Children and Families Services, Bureau of Evaluation and Research
Author Affiliation None of the study authors are developers of this program model.


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