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

Type of Product

Journal Publication

Program Models Included

  • 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