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Study Detail

Wagner, M., Clayton, S., Gerlach-Downie, S., & McElroy, M. (1999). An evaluation of the northern California Parents as Teachers demonstration. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.

Program(s) Reviewed: Parents as Teachers

Additional Sources:

Wagner, M. & Clayton, S. (1999). The Parents as Teachers program: Results from two demonstrations. The Future of Children, 9(1), 91-115.

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
HighRandomized controlled trialLowNot applicableNoneNone

Study Characteristics

Study Participants

The sample presented here includes 375 mothers with children who were assessed at 2 years of age and 363 mothers with children who were assessed at 3 years of age. (This report also includes a sample of mothers followed up when the child was 1 year of age. These analyses received a low rating, however. See Study Ratings for details.) Over the course of one year, families with a child up to 6 months of age were recruited for enrollment in the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program. In the 2-year-old sample, most mothers had an education level of high school or less (77%); more than three-quarters of study participants were Latina mothers (80%); the majority of participating households received Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program (60%), while a minority received Aid to Families with Dependent Children (18%); and 59% of mothers were married. The 3-year-old sample had similar characteristics.


A single site in the Salinas Valley in Northern California

Home Visiting Services

Families enrolled in PAT received monthly home visits and other program services for as long as they remained in the program, up to the child’s third birthday. Among those families enrolled in PAT , 57% participated and remained in the program for all three years.

Comparison Condition

The comparison families received only the services that were normally available in the community and that they sought of their own accord. In addition, they received age-appropriate toys at regular quarterly intervals, which were used as a means of tracking their locations.

Staff Characteristics and Training

Parent educators were trained by the PAT national staff at the certified training center during a weeklong session. All parent educators had previous experience working with children and families, but their educational backgrounds varied widely.

Funding Source

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Author Affiliation

None of the study authors are developers of this program model.


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