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Study Detail

Campbell, K. I., & Silva, P. A. (1997). Parents as first teachers pilot programme evaluation : Age three assessments. Final report to the ministry of education on the Dunedin and Gisborne/East coast areas. 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 receives a mixed rating. All outcomes from the Gisborne/East Coast areas had high attrition and receive a low rating. Many of the outcomes from the Dunedin sample had low attrition and receive a moderate rating. Some of the Dunedin outcomes had high attrition or lacked the sample size information necessary to calculate attrition and receive a low rating (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 Dunedin and Gisborne regions. 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. In Dunedin, 133 program families and 134 comparison families took part in the evaluation. In Gisborne, 108 program families and 100 comparison families took part in the evaluation.


This study took place in two areas within New Zealand: Dunedin and Gisborne.

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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