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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Child FIRST: A Comprehensive Home-Based Intervention Translating Research Into Early Childhood Practice

NCJ Number
Child Development Volume: 82 Issue: 1 Dated: 2011 Pages: 193-208
Darcy I. Lowell; Alice S. Carter; Leandra Godoy; et al
Date Published
16 pages

This randomized, controlled trial was designed to document the effectiveness of Child FIRST (Child and Family Interagency, Resource, Support, and Training), a home‐based, psychotherapeutic, parent–child intervention embedded in a system of care.


Multi-risk urban mothers and children, ages 6–36 months (N = 157) participated in this study. At the 12‐month follow‐up, Child FIRST children had improved language (odds ratio [OR] = 4.4) and externalizing symptoms (OR = 4.7) compared to Usual Care children. Child FIRST mothers had less parenting stress at the 6‐month follow‐up (OR = 3.0), lower psychopathology symptoms at 12‐month follow‐up (OR = 4.0), and less protective service involvement at 3 years post-baseline (OR = 2.1) relative to Usual Care mothers. Intervention families accessed 91 percent of wanted services compared with 33 percent among Usual Care. Thus, Child FIRST was effective across multiple child and parent outcomes with multi-risk families raising young children. (publisher abstract modified)