The purpose of this systematic overview was to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of public health nursing interventions when carried out by the strategy of home visiting. A search of published and unpublished literature resulted in retrieval of 108 articles; 77 articles were judged to be relevant. Validity criteria included method of allocation to the study groups, level of agreement to participate in the study, control for confounders, method of data collection (pretesting of data collection tools, blinding of data collectors to group allocation of study participants), quantitative measure of effect and percentage of participants available at follow-up. Using these criteria, 9 articles were judged to be strong, 5 moderate and 63 weak. There were no reported negative effects of home visiting in the 9 strong articles. Positive outcomes included improvement in children's mental development, mental health and physical growth; reduction in mother's anxiety, depression, and tobacco use; improvement in maternal employment, nutrition and other health habits; government cost saving; and reduced level of care required for the elderly.