New randomised control trial studies published this month in the journal Pediatrics show long-term benefits for children and mothers who participated in the Nurse-Family Partnership programme in the US.
The two studies followed low income families in Memphis, Tennessee, from June 1990 to September 2014. Pregnant mothers were randomly assigned to the Nurse-Family Partnership programme (n=228) or a control group which received free transport to prenatal care in addition to child development screening and referrals (n=514).
The 18-year follow-up showed that nurse-visited children had:
• Improved cognitive outcomes compared to children in the control group;
• Improved math achievement scores;
• Receptive language abilities, working memory, and ability to accurately read others’ emotions.
Nurse-Family Partnership children received less supplementary security income for disability at age 18 and were three times more likely to graduate from high school with honours compared to the control group. Female children who had participated in the programme had fewer convictions than female children in the control group at age 18.
The second study found that mothers who participated in Nurse Family Partnership had high rates of co-habitation over the 18-year follow-up and were more likely to get married.
The studies were co-authored by Dr Gabriella Conti, Associate Professor in Economics, Department of Economics and Department of Social Science at University College London.
Dr Conti said:
“There was less of a need for benefits like food stamps and Medicaid for mothers in the programme. This is because these women typically had fewer children and were more likely to be married. The mothers seem to take better care of themselves.”
FNP National Unit Director Ailsa Swarbrick welcomed the findings:
“This new longitudinal research builds further on the impressive evidence base for the Family Nurse Partnership programme, which was first introduced in England twelve years ago.
“It is especially impressive to see the programme benefits for children stretching into teenage years and adulthood – and shows that Family Nurse Partnership really can give children the best start in life.”
Read the UCL news story about this research.
Read the studies in Pediatrics journal: study one about children and study two about mothers.
Read more about the evidence base for the Family Nurse Partnership programme in the Early Intervention Foundations Guidebook.