First reports evaluating the effectiveness of strategies for preventing violence: early childhood home visitation. Findings from the Task Force on Community Preventive Services

MMWR Recomm Rep. 2003 Oct 3;52(RR-14):1-9.


Early childhood home visitation programs are those in which parents and children are visited in their home during the child's first 2 years of life by trained personnel who provide some combination of the following: information, support, or training regarding child health, development, and care. Home visitation has been used for a wide range of objectives, including improvement of the home environment, family development, and prevention of child behavior problems. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force) conducted a systematic review of scientific evidence concerning the effectiveness of early childhood home visitation for preventing several forms of violence: violence by the visited child against self or others; violence against the child (i.e., maltreatment [abuse or neglect]); other violence by the visited parent; and intimate partner violence. On the basis of strong evidence of effectiveness, the Task Force recommends early childhood home visitation for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of early childhood home visitation in preventing violence by visited children, violence by visited parents (other than child abuse and neglect), or intimate partner violence in visited families. (Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.) No studies of home visitation evaluated suicide as an outcome. This report provides additional information regarding the findings, briefly describes how the reviews were conducted, and provides information that can help in applying the recommended intervention locally.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services / standards*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Violence / prevention & control*