The Long-Term Effects of Healthy Families New York – Revisiting Families After 15 Years

Happy Family togetherThe Center for Human Services Research is revisiting families after 15 years to assess the long-term effects of Healthy Families New York (HFNY), a child maltreatment prevention program.

Starting in the year 2000, the Research Center conducted a randomized controlled trial – the “gold standard” of research– that established HFNY as an evidence-based program. Nearly 1,200 families were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (that received HFNY services) or a control group (that received only information and service referrals). Families were interviewed at baseline and at the time of the child’s first, second, third, and seventh birthdays. The research yielded significant positive findings in birth outcomes, parenting practices, child maltreatment, school readiness, and access to health care.

The babies in the study are now 15 years old! While we know HFNY produced positive effects from pregnancy through the child’s seventh year of life, we now have the opportunity to assess the program’s longer-term effects. We have begun the process of locating families and plan to commence interviews in the fall. The study is designed to address such questions as:

  • Do the early results sustain over time?
  • What are the longer-term effects on children as they enter adolescence? Do they continue to demonstrate positive educational outcomes? What effect does the program have on problem behaviors such as delinquency and substance use?
  • What are the longer life trajectories for families such as employment or welfare dependency?
  • What are the potential cost savings associated with longer-term outcomes?

Previous research on nurse home visiting found positive findings in a 15-year follow-up for both children and their families. However, this will be the first rigorous longitudinal evaluation of the Healthy Families America model, a program that uses trained paraprofessionals to conduct home visits. The research will be an important contribution to the field in providing evidence of the long-term impact of another home visitation model.  

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