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Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)

Since 2000, Healthy Families New York (HFNY) has been rigorously evaluated using a longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). Women who met the assessment criteria for HFNY were randomly assigned to either an intervention group that was offered HFNY services or a control group that was given information and referrals to other appropriate services.

Baseline and follow-up data were collected for 1,173 womenin the HFNY and control groups at the time of the child’s birth and at the first, second, third, and seventh birthdays(with various levels of retention). Data were collected from in-depth interviews with mothers, child welfare and public assistance administrative records, the HFNY Management Information System (MIS), and videotaped observations of parent-child interactions. The target children were also interviewed when they were approximately seven years old and their first grade school records were requested from their schools.

The RCT has demonstrated that Healthy Families New York has both immediate and lasting impacts on families for a number of outcomes, including:

  • Birth outcomes & child health
  • Educational outcomes
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Cost savings
  • Parenting competencies


In 2017, we completed a 15-year follow-up study. In-depth interviews with mothers and their now adolescent children were conducted to assess outcomes such as:

  • Maternal life course
  • Family conflict
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Delinquent/criminal activity
  • Parenting practices
  • Youth behaviors
  • Health and access to health care
  • Educational experiences

Administrative data is being collected to obtain:

  • Child maltreatment reports
  • Birth records
  • Foster care services use
  • Juvenile/criminal justice system involvement
  • Food stamps and public assistance benefits
  • School records

Based on the evaluation’s rigorous random assignment design and the program’s significant and positive effects on a range of outcomes, HFNY was designated as a “proven program” by RAND’s Promising Practices Networkand an effective program by both Child Trends and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.These findings also played a substantial role in the designation of Healthy Families America home visiting programs like HFNY, as meeting the federal DHHS criteria for an evidence-based early childhood home visiting service delivery model.