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Study Detail

Boyd, A. (1997). Parents as first teachers pilot project evaluation (PAFT) : Report on Whangarei region: Final complete draft. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Program(s) Reviewed: Parents as First Teachers (New Zealand)

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
ModerateRandomized controlled trialLowNot established on race/ethnicity, SES, or outcomesNoneNone

In order to receive a high rating, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with low attrition must control for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and, if applicable, baseline outcomes if statistically significant differences exist between treatment and control groups. In this case, we had insufficient information to assess baseline equivalence on race/ethnicity, SES, or outcomes in order to determine if there were statistically significant differences for which the authors should have controlled in analyses.

This study received a mixed rating. Four outcomes have low attrition and receive a moderate rating (positive child behaviors - problem solving task, total; positive caregiver behaviors - imaginative play episode, responding to child; positive child behaviors - imaginative play episode, attending to help; positive child behaviors - imaginative play episode, using information). All other outcomes have high attrition and baseline equivalence is not established on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), or any outcomes. These outcomes rate low (low-rated outcomes are not reported).

Study Characteristics

Study Participants

The Parents as First Teachers (PAFT) pilot project was initiated in 1992–1993 in four areas of New Zealand: Whangarei, South Auckland, Gisbome, and Dunedin. This study reports on the Whangarei region. The PAFT pilot project aimed to provide first-time parents in each of the four geographical areas with a variety of services, from the birth of their first child until the child was 3 years of age. Participants were randomly assigned to the program or comparison group; 101 program families and 89 comparison families took part in the evaluation.


This study took place in the Whangarei region of New Zealand.

Home Visiting Services

Trained parent educators provided monthly home visits, offering parenting education and guidance with the goal of increasing parents’ feelings of confidence and competence. The intervention included periodic child development screening and any necessary referrals, monthly group meetings, and access to resources at PAFT centers.

Comparison Condition

Comparison group families had annual contact with program staff, via mailings, to maintain contact and update addresses.

Staff Characteristics and Training

Parent educators had at least an undergraduate-level degree, had prior experience with children and parents, and were qualified in general or Plunket Society nursing or early childhood or primary teaching (or the equivalent). Initial training lasted two weeks and covered information on PAT , the home visits, conducting educationally focused parent meetings, empowering parents, encouraging parent-child interactions, sensory overload, avoiding dependency relationships, early language, record keeping, and children with special needs. Ongoing training was provided annually for one week. Parent educators received certification from the PAT National Center for fulfilling training requirements.

Funding Source

New Zealand Ministry of Education

Author Affiliation

None of the study authors is a developer of this program model.


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