Improving the Life Chances of Vulnerable Children and Families With Prenatal and Infancy Support of Parents: The Nurse-Family Partnership




David L. Olds

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)


Pregnancy and the early years of the child’s life offer an opportune time to prevent a host of
adverse maternal and child outcomes that are important in their own right, but that also have significant implications for the development of criminal behavior. This paper summarizes a three-decade program of research that has attempted to improve the health and development of mothers and infants and their future life prospects with prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses. The program, known as the Nurse-Family Partnership, is designed for low-income mothers who have had no previous live births. The home visiting nurses have three major goals: to improve the outcomes of pregnancy by helping women improve their prenatal health; to improve the child’s health and development by helping parents provide more sensitive and competent care of the child; and to improve parental life-course by helping parents plan future pregnancies, complete their educations, and find work. Given consistent effects on prenatal health behaviors, parental care of the child, child abuse and neglect, child health and development, maternal life-course, and criminal involvement of the mothers and children, the program is now being offered for public investment throughout the United States, where careful attention is being given to ensuring that the program is being conducted in accordance with the program model tested in the randomized trials. The program also is being adapted, developed, and tested in countries outside of the US: the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Australia, and Canada, as well as Native American and Alaskan Native populations in the US, where programmatic adjustments are being made to accommodate different populations served and health and human service contexts. We believe it is important to test this program in randomized controlled trials in these new settings before it is offered for public investment. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Program administrative record reviews



For More Information

Olds, D. L. (2012). Improving the life chances of vulnerable children and families with prenatal and infancy support of parents: The Nurse-Family Partnership. Psychosocial Intervention, 21(2), 129-143. http://dx.doi.org/10.5093/in2012a14
Author Contact Information:
David L. Olds


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes
  • Program Quality, Continuous Quality Improvement, and Fidelity