The Evidence Base for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Constructs




Sofia Campos, Julie M. Kapp, and Eduardo J. Simoes

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Early Head Start Home-Based Option
  • Early Intervention Program for Adolescent Mothers
  • Healthy Families America (HFA)
  • HealthySteps
  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT)


Objectives: The federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program requires grantees to demonstrate program improvement as a condition of funding. The MIECHV program monitors grantee progress in federally mandated conceptual areas (ie, benchmarks) that are further subcategorized into related sub-areas or constructs (eg, breastfeeding). Each construct has an associated performance measure that helps MIECHV collect data on program implementation and performance. In 2016, MIECHV modified the constructs and associated performance measures required of grantees. Our objective was to identify whether the constructs were supported by the home visiting literature. Methods: We conducted an evaluation of one of the MIECHV program’s benchmarks (Benchmark 1: Maternal and Newborn Health) for alignment of the Benchmark 1 constructs (preterm birth, breastfeeding, depression screening, well-child visit, postpartum care, and tobacco cessation referrals) with home visiting evidence. In March 2016, we searched the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness database for all publicly available articles on studies conducted in the United States to determine how well the study findings aligned with the MIECHV program constructs. Results: Of 59 articles reviewed, only 3 of the 6 MIECHV constructs—preterm birth, breastfeeding, and well-child visits—were supported by home visiting evidence. Conclusions: This evaluation highlights a limited evidence base for the MIECHV Benchmark 1 constructs and a need to clarify other criteria, beyond evidence, used to choose constructs and associated performance measures. One implication of not having evidence-based performance measures is a lack of confidence that the program will drive positive outcomes. If performance measures are not evidence based, it is difficult to attribute positive outcomes to the home visiting services. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods



For More Information

Campos, S., Kapp, J. M., & Simoes, E. J. (2018). The Evidence Base for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Constructs. Public Health Reports, 33(3), 257–265. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033354918764383. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958389/
Author Contact Information:
Julie M. Kapp


  • Program Quality, Continuous Quality Improvement, and Fidelity