Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Promising Target * 0-5 Speciality * Comprehensive
Program * Health Start Partnership and CARES Parenting Program
Description *

  The Health Start parenting programs are an outgrowth of the agency's prenatal and pediatric services. Risk factors that indicate a need for services in the Partnership Project include: negative feelings about the pregnancy, limited support, personal history of maltreatment and/or out-of-home placement, conflicts including abuse by a partner/spouse, social isolation, economic stress, unmet personal needs and /or chaotic family systems.

Women are enrolled in late pregnancy or as early postpartum as possible. The Partnership program works with cohorts of 8-12 women with infants born within a few months of each other. Partnership clients meet every other week, with home visits on alternate weeks, for about two years. The CARES group is always open to new members. Enrolled children range in age from newborn to five years and families "graduate" when the last drug exposed child is enrolled in kindergarten. CARES provides regular home visits and weekly support groups, with medical care and lunch provided on site. Transportation is provided for all groups.

The program design is rooted in attachment theory and includes three essential components: home visits, support and education groups, and medical care. The overall goal of the project is to foster secure mother-infant attachments by encouraging responsive parenting. This is accomplished through efforts to help mothers understand child development, form realistic expectations, learn to respond to infant cues, gain perspective on their own childhood issues and their role as a parent, and find and learn to use social support.

Following the initial project, data for intervention mothers was compared with baseline data for clients with similar prenatal risk-scores and with a control group. The control group was matched for age, race, marital status, and scores on prenatal risk assessment as well as intervention criteria that further assessed psycho-social risks. A comparison of abuse/neglect rates among the three groups examined found a baseline rate of 16%, a control group rate of 30% and an intervention rate of 8%. Because 50% of women enrolled in the first intervention became pregnant again within 12 months, this issue was addressed in subsequent projects. This was reduced to 12% who became pregnant again within a year after the birth of the first child and 21 % within 18 months. In addition, all children who remained with the project until its completion were fully immunized by 30 months of age or were up to date on immunizations at the time the project ended.

    Contact * Gloria Ferguson, Team Leader 
    Address* 491 West University Avenue 
        St. Paul, MN  55103-1936
    Phone * 612 221-4368
    Email  * 
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention