Improving Adolescent Parenting: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Home Visiting Program for Young Families




Francine Jacobs, M. Ann Easterbrooks, Jessica Goldberg, Jayanthi Mistry, Erin Bumgarner, Maryna Raskin, Nathan Fosse, and Rebecca Fauth

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Healthy Families America (HFA)


Objectives: Our aim was to estimate the effects of Healthy Families Massachusetts, a statewide home visiting program serving first-time adolescent parents, on parenting, child development, educational attainment, family planning, and maternal health and well-being. Methods: We used a randomized controlled trial design to randomly assign the 704 participants to a group receiving home visiting services or a control group. Between 2008 and 2012, telephone and in-person interviews were conducted and administrative data obtained at 12 and 24 months after enrollment. Intention-to-treat analyses compared group differences across 5 outcome domains: parenting, child health and development, educational and economic achievement, family planning, and parental health and well-being. Results: The home visiting program had a positive influence on parenting stress, college attendance, condom use, intimate partner violence, and engagement in risky behaviors. No negative findings were observed. Conclusions: A paraprofessional home visiting program specifically targeting young mothers appears effective in domains of particular salience to young parents and their infants and toddlers. Expanding participation in the program appears a worthy goal for program administrators and policymakers. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Interviews
  • Program administrative record reviews
  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Jacobs, F., Easterbrooks, M. A., Goldberg, J., Mistry, J., Bumgarner, E., Raskin, M., … Fauth, R. (2015). Improving adolescent parenting: Results from a randomized controlled trial of a home visiting program for young families. American Journal of Public Health, 106(2), 342–349. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302919
Author Contact Information:
Francine Jacobs


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes