Topic: Home Visiting Programs for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Home Visiting Programs for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect:

Home Visiting Programs for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect are defined by the CEBC as any home visiting program with a goal of preventing abuse or neglect or intervening with families at high risk of abuse and neglect. Home visiting is a mechanism to provide direct support and coordination of services for families which involves direct services to the family in the home setting. While services can also be received elsewhere, the home is the primary service delivery setting. Programs vary, but components may include 1) education in effective parenting and childcare techniques; 2) education on child development, health, safety, and nutrition; 3) assistance in gaining access to social support networks; and 4) assistance in obtaining education, employment, and access to community services.

  • Target population: Parents and their children; services can begin prior to birth while the mother is pregnant
  • Services/types that fit: Home-based services with an individual or family focus that include assessment, case planning, case management, education, and/or skill building
  • Delivered by: Child welfare staff, nurse, or trained paraprofessional
  • In order to be included: Home visiting program must specifically target the prevention of child abuse and/or neglect as a goal
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by Scientific Rating Scale) that examines outcomes directly related to the prevention of child abuse and/or neglect, such as administrative data on child welfare reports or re-reports or self-report of abuse or neglect behaviors through a standardized measure
Downloadable Topic Area Summary

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

One Program with a Scientific Rating of 1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence:

  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)
    First time, low-income mothers (adolescents and adults, with no set maximum age) and their infants ages birth-2 years

Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

  • Child First
    [Child FIRST, Child FIRST (Child and Family Interagency Resource, Support, and Training)]
    Children prenatal to 5 years old and their parents/caregivers who are at risk of or have experienced child abuse, neglect, ...
  • Early Start
    Parents of a newborn (usually up to 12 months of age) and/or parents in the antenatal period facing multiple disadvantages
  • SafeCare®
    [Project SafeCare]
    Parents at-risk for child neglect and/or abuse and parents with a history of child neglect and/or abuse

Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

  • Building Healthy Children (BHC)
    Parents who had their first child prior to 21 years of age, and who are experiencing economic challenges (e.g., eligible ...
  • Exchange Parent Aide
    Families must have at least one child age birth through 17 years in the home (services may also be offered prenatally), ...
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT)
    Parents/Caregivers who are expecting a child or have a child who has not begun Kindergarten

One Program with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

  • Relief Nursery
    Families with limited income, raising children birth to age six with multiple stressors

Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?

The Home Visiting Programs for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect topic area is relevant to child welfare because home visiting programs are commonly used by child welfare agencies as early intervention strategies to reach at-risk families with children from birth to age five. Many county child welfare agencies in California have developed home visiting programs in partnership with their public health agencies with support from their First Five Commissions. These programs provide targeted services and support, with the hopes that they will prevent child neglect and abuse.

Danna Fabella
Director, Federal Linkages
Child & Family Policy Institute of California
Sacramento, CA

Topic Expert

Home Visiting Programs for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect was one of new topic areas launched in 2008. Neil Guterman, PhD, MSW was the topic expert and was involved in identifying and rating any of the programs with an original load date of 2008 or earlier (as found on the bottom of the program's page on the CEBC). The topic area has grown over the years and in 2011 and 2023, the topic area was revised and expanded. All of the Home Visiting Programs for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect added since 2008 were identified by CEBC staff, the Scientific Panel, and/or the Advisory Committee. For these programs, Dr. Guterman was not involved in identifying or rating them.