Nurse home visitation and the prevention of child maltreatment: impact on the timing of official reports

Dev Psychopathol. Spring 2009;21(2):441-53. doi: 10.1017/S0954579409000248.


This study examined the effects of the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), a program of prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses, on the timing of verified reports of child maltreatment. A sample of predominantly unmarried, low-income mothers and their first-born children were randomly assigned to receive either home visitation services by nurses beginning in pregnancy and lasting until the child was age 2, or comparison services. Previous studies have found that this program was effective in reducing the overall number of substantiated Child Protective Service reports by age 15. In the current study, survival analyses were used to assess temporal differences between nurse visited (n = 93) and comparison (n = 144) children's onset rates for maltreatment. The two groups' survival functions remained nearly identical until age 4, at which point the nurse-visited group's risk for onset began to significantly diminish. These results were more pronounced among the highest risk subgroup and among victims of neglect. The findings provide evidence that the NFP's success in reducing the number of maltreatment reports resulted in part from in its impact on the timing of the maltreatment process.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care* / methods
  • Program Evaluation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome