Assessing the Evaluations of Early Childhood Education Programs

Chapter 23 - Nurse Family Partnership (Denver)
Introduction to the Original Evaluation (Excerpt)

The Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) operated in Denver, Colorado from 1994 to 1997. It was designed to "help low-income, first-time parents start their lives with their children on a sound course and prevent the health and parenting problems that can contribute to the early development of antisocial behavior." The program had three main objectives: (1) to improve women's health-related behaviors during pregnancy; (2) to aid parents in the attainment of parenting skills and thus improve their children's health and development; and (3) to enhance the maternal life-course development of participating women by encouraging family planning, educational development, and self-sufficiency. The Denver evaluation was a three-armed, randomized trial designed to address the question of "whether the sporadic weak effects typically found for paraprofessional home visiting could be improved if paraprofessionals were provided with well-developed program guidelines and thorough training and supervision in a program model grounded in epidemiology and theory." It differed from the two previous trials in Elmira, New York and Memphis, Tennessee in that it sought to examine the effectiveness of home- visiting by both nurses and paraprofessionals.

David Olds, professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, JoAnn Robinson, director of developmental research at the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and their colleagues (the "NFP team") evaluated the program. Olds earlier developed and evaluated the precursor programs in Elmira, New York and Memphis, Tennessee.

At the program's conclusion, there were a number of positive results for nurse-visited mothers and their children compared to the control group which was not the case for paraprofessional-visited women and their children. However, at the age-four follow-up, many of the positive differences for nurse-visited women and their children had disappeared. The positive impacts of the program were concentrated only among children with mothers with low

Continue Reading


This report is open to public comments, subject to review by the forum moderator and our discussion guidelines. To leave a comment, fill in the form below, or email us at

There are currently no comments on this document

Comment Form
Send to:
* Name: (required)
* Email: (required)
Organization or Affiliation:

Thank you for your submission.