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J Scand Stud Criminol Crime Prev. 2008 Dec 1;9(S1):2-24.

Preventing Child Maltreatment and Crime with Prenatal and Infancy Support of Parents: The Nurse-Family Partnership.

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Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center Mail Stop 8410 13121 East 17th Avenue PO Box 6511 Aurora, CO 80045 USA Tel: +1-303-724-2892


Pregnancy and the early years of the child's life offer an opportune time to prevent a host of adverse maternal and child outcomes that are important in their own right, but that also have significant implications for the development of criminal behaviour. This paper summarizes a 30-year programme of research that has attempted to improve the health and development of mothers and infants and their future life prospects with prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses. The programme, known today as the Nurse-Family Partnership, is designed for low-income mothers who have had no previous live births. The home visiting nurses have three major goals: to improve the outcomes of pregnancy by helping women improve their prenatal health; to improve the child's health and development by helping parents provide more sensitive and competent care of the child; and to improve parental life-course by helping parents plan future pregnancies, complete their educations, and find work. Given consistent effects on prenatal health behaviours, parental care of the child, child abuse and neglect, child health and development, maternal life-course, and criminal involvement of the mothers and children, the programme is now being offered for public investment throughout the United States, where careful attention is being given to ensuring that the programme is being conducted in accordance with the programme model tested in the randomized trials. The programme also is being adapted, developed, and tested in five countries outside of the US: the Netherlands, Germany, England, Australia, and Canada, where programmatic adjustments are being made to accommodate different populations served and health and human service contexts. We believe it is important to test this programme in randomized controlled trials in these new settings before it is offered for public investment.

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