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Study Detail

Carta, J. J., Lefever, J. B., Bigelow, K., Borkowski, J., & Warren, S. F. (2013). Randomized trial of a cellular-phone enhanced home visitation parenting intervention. Pediatrics, 132(2), S167–S173.

Model(s) Reviewed: SafeCare: Cellular Phone Enhanced Planned Activities Training Module, SafeCare: Planned Activities Training Module

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
HighRandomized controlled trialLowEstablished on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and baseline outcomesNoneNone

Study Characteristics

Study Participants

Mothers with a child age 3.5 to 4.5 years old were recruited from community health, early education, and social service agencies serving low-income families in metropolitan South Bend, Indiana, and metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri. Eligible mothers had at least one of the following risk factors for child maltreatment: age younger than 18 years at first child’s birth, having less than a high school diploma or equivalent, receiving financial assistance, or meeting the income eligibility requirement for Head Start or the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

The study included two intervention groups; one received Planned Activities Training, a module of SafeCare; the other received Cellular Phone Enhanced Planned Activities Training, which provided mothers with a cellular phone to receive contacts from staff in addition to normal Planned Activities Training services. The authors compared both Planned Activities Training and Cellular Phone Enhanced Planned Activities Training with the control group, as well as the two intervention conditions with each other. In total, 371 mothers were randomly assigned (Planned Activities Training, n= 142; Cellular Phone Enhanced Planned Activities Training, n = 113; control, n = 116). The authors used multiple imputation to account for missing values. Mothers self-identified as belonging to the following ethnic groups: 46% Hispanic; 33% African-American, 17% European American; and 4% mixed race or other. Estimated annual mean family earnings were $18,608 (SD = 15,835).


This study took place in metropolitan South Bend, Indiana and Kansas City, Missouri.

Home Visiting Services

Planned Activities Training is the parent training module of SafeCare. In the present study, mothers received services during five home visiting sessions, focusing on responsive parenting strategies with skills such as engaging in positive interactions, establishing rules and limits, and providing feedback. The cellular phone add-on of Cellular Phone Enhanced Planned Activities Training was used to promote client engagement and to provide encouragement and skill reinforcement via text messages and phone calls.

Comparison Condition

The control group received no additional services during the study. Members of the control group were placed on the program wait list and were offered services at the conclusion of the study.

Staff Characteristics and Training

Planned Activities Training and Cellular Phone Enhanced Planned Activities Training services were delivered by a “family coach,” a research staff member with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Funding Source

Supported by Cooperative Agreement U49 CE 001070-0 from the Violence Prevention Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and co-sponsored by the CDC Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the AT&T Foundation, and the Sprint Foundation.

Author Affiliation

None of the study authors are developers of this model.


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