Nurses' Home Visits Help Young Massachusetts Mothers

From 1998 to 2001, the Friends of Children's Trust Fund evaluated and disseminated findings on its Healthy Families Massachusetts program, which provides home visits for new mothers under the age of 20.

The evaluation examined both process and outcomes, relying primarily on information in the program's data system and interviews with mothers enrolled in the evaluation as data sources.

Based in Boston, the Friends of Children's Trust Fund is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting parents and strengthening families.

Key Findings

Because both studies are ongoing, findings are preliminary. The process study showed that:

  • Young families received fewer services than they were scheduled for.
  • Program staff may not have completely understood the needs of young parents.
  • The relationship the new parent has with the home visitor may prove more important than the quality of the curriculum used during home visits.

The outcome study showed that:

  • Over half of young mothers evaluated exhibited symptoms of depression.
  • Most mothers in the evaluation reported that fathers were involved with their children.
  • Mothers reported that home visits had a positive impact.