Early Enrollment Highlights from the Evaluation of Healthy Families New York
(Prenatal Talking Points)
Research Design The Healthy Families New York Research Team has been conducting a
randomized trial of Healthy Families New York since 2000.
1173 women enrolled in the study and were interviewed annually for 3 years.
In 2006, additional funding was received to re-interview families at 7 years to
test the long term effects of the program.
Expectant and new parents were assigned to either a treatment group (offered
home visiting services) or a control group (did not receive home visiting).
Observational data was gathered by videotaping mothers and children to
assess parent-child interaction and child behavior.
Birth certificate records from NYS Department of Health were collected for the
women enrolled prenatally.
Indicated cases of CPS reports were also collected annually.
HFNY mothers were half as likely to have low birth weight babies when
Low Birth Weight 1 compared with control group mothers.
The impact on low birth weight was stronger among women entering the
study earlier in pregnancy.
HFNY impact may be related to the support we provide to families. Stress has
been associated with LBW and our impact may be related to helping families
identify and decrease stressors.
Impacts may be related to efforts to increase prenatal visits and promote
lifestyle changes around nutrition, smoking, drugs and alcohol use.
Access to Medical HFNY mothers who enrolled prenatally, along with their newborns, were more
Care 1 likely to have primary care providers, which may reinforce healthy prenatal
Child Abuse and With regards to child abuse and harsh parenting, HFNY program worked
Neglect 2,3 especially well for certain families.
First time mothers under age 19 who were offered HFNY early in
pregnancy were substantially less likely to report engaging in minor
physical aggression and harsh parenting at Age 2, compared to their
counterparts in the control group.
Young, first time mothers enrolled prenatally were found in the
observational (video) study to be substantially less likely to use harsh
Other Benefits of HFNY families enrolled prenatally stay in the home visiting program longer
after the baby’s birth than those enrolled postnatally.
Ideal time to form relationships with mothers and fathers, provide anticipatory
guidance about parenting and talk about breastfeeding.
1. Lee, Mitchell-Herzfeld, Lowenfels et al. “Reducing Low Birth Weight through Home Visitation: A Randomized
Controlled Trial.” to be published in the 2009 February issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine
2. DuMont, Mitchell-Herzfeld, Greene et al. 2008 “Healthy Families New York Randomized Trial: Effects on Early
Childhood Abuse and Neglect.” Child Abuse and Neglect 32:295-315.
3. DuMont, Rodriguez, Mitchell-Herzfeld et al. 2008 “Effects of Healthy Families New York on Maternal Behaviors:
Observational Assessments of Positive and Negative Parenting.’ Working Paper. Rensselaer, NY: NYS Office of
Children and Family Services
Early Enrollment Subcommittee 10-08