McAuley, Colette, Knapp, Martin, Beecham, Jennifer, McCurry, Nyree and Sleed, Michelle
Young families under stress: outcomes and costs of Home-Start support,
York, UK, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 67pp.
Full text not available from this repository.
Supporting parents is central to the current government’s approach to improving children’s lives. However, little is as yet known about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of family support services. This study evaluates one of these – Home-Start – which is currently one of the largest family support organisations in the UK. Established over thirty years ago, it offers volunteer home visiting support to families with children under five years of age.
Comparing a study group of young families who received Home-Start support with a comparison group who did not, the study explores the mothers’ views and needs at the outset of the study. It reports their views one year later, and considers the outcomes at that stage. The economic situation of the families and their receipt of services over time are analysed, and the cost-effectiveness of Home-Start is addressed. The concluding chapter summarises the key findings of the study.
The authors found that although the mothers who had received the support of a Home-Start volunteer obviously valued the service, there was no clear evidence that it had made a positive difference to them in terms of outcomes, relative to those of the families in the comparison group. They suggest that the results did not therefore point to a cost-effectiveness advantage for Home-Start. Given that the support was offered only on a low intensity basis (one home visit per week), the authors suggest that a longer term follow up would be advisable before reaching firm conclusions about the impact of the service.
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