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Testing the Effectiveness of Healthy Start-Healthy Families Oregon: Outcomes and Cost-Benefits

NCJ Number
Beth L. Green; Jerod Tarte; Mary Beth Sanders; Mark S. Waller
Date Published
18 pages

This final report describes the authors’ analysis of a home visitation program using the Healthy Families America model, detailing their research objectives, methodology, and outcomes; it also provides information and a link to a web-based tool that resulted from the project.


The authors present a research study that was designed to achieve several specific objectives: to conduct a large-scale randomized study of the impact of the Healthy Families Oregon (HFO) program on child welfare system involvement, access to self-sufficiency resources, and use of preventive and other medical services; to conduct a comprehensive and detailed cost-benefit study of the HFO program; and to develop and disseminate a web-based tool to support home visiting program managers, funders, and others to better understand and develop readiness for conducting program cost analysis and cost-benefit research. Results at the one-year follow-up interviews with parents indicated that HFO families were significantly more likely than control families to read to their young children frequently, to provide developmentally supportive activities, and to report lower parenting-related stress as measured by the Parent Stress Inventory (PSI). Administrative data outcomes at two years post-enrollment found that families were no more likely to have a founded child abuse report than were controls but were significantly more likely to have an unfounded report. HFO families, compared to controls, were also significantly more likely to have been enrolled in TANF services for the first time, received more days of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and were more likely to be enrolled in substance abuse treatment services. There were no significant differences between groups in terms of use of or access to publicly funded health insurance or health-related services. Results of the cost-benefit analyses also did not support short-term cost savings associated with receipt of the HFO program. The authors finally note that they posted a web-based tool, The Home Visiting Cost Tool, to the following web address: www.homevisitcosts.com. Publisher Abstract Provided