The Effect of VoorZorg, the Dutch Nurse-Family Partnership, on Child Maltreatment and Development: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J. Mejdoubi, S.C.C.M. van den Heijkant, F.J.M. van Leerdam, M.W. Heymans, A. Crijnen, R.A. Hira Sing

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Background Child maltreatment is a great public health concern that has long-term mental and physical health consequences and can result in death. We studied the effect of a nurse home visiting program on child maltreatment among young disadvantaged families in the Netherlands. This study is the first to investigate the effects of this program outside of the United States. Methods We conducted a single blind, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial that compared usual care with the nurse home visitation program, which began during pregnancy and continued until the children's second birthdays, in 460 disadvantaged women who were pregnant for the first time and <26 years of age. The primary outcome was the existence of a report about the child from a child protecting services agency (CPS reports). Secondary outcome measures included home environment and child behavior. Results Two hundred twenty-three participants were assigned to the control group, and 237 were assigned to the intervention group. Three years after birth, 19% of the children in the control group had a CPS report. The 11 percent of children in the intervention group with CPS files was significantly lower (relative risk 0.91, p-value 0.04). At 24 months, the intervention group scored significantly better on the IT-HOME. At 24 months after birth, the children in the intervention group exhibited a significant improvement in internalizing behavior (relative risk 0.56, p-value 0.04) but no evidence of a difference from the control group in externalizing behavior (relative risk 0.71, p-value 0.12). Conclusion The number of CPS reports for the intervention group was significantly lower than that of the control group. Additionally, the long-term home environments were improved and internalizing behaviors of the children were lower in the intervention group.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0120182
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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