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Am J Public Health. 2013 Jun;103(6):1058-66. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300996. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Behavioral and socioemotional outcomes through age 5 years of the legacy for children public health approach to improving developmental outcomes among children born into poverty.

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National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



We evaluated Legacy for Children, a public health strategy to improve child health and development among low-income families.


Mothers were recruited prenatally or at the birth of a child to participate in Legacy parenting groups for 3 to 5 years. A set of 2 randomized trials in Miami, Florida, and Los Angeles, California, between 2001 and 2009 assessed 574 mother-child pairs when the children were 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months old. Intent-to-treat analyses from 12 to 60 months compared groups on child behavioral and socioemotional outcomes.


Children of mothers in the intervention group were at lower risk for behavioral concerns at 24 months and socioemotional problems at 48 months in Miami, and lower risk for hyperactive behavior at 60 months in Los Angeles. Longitudinal analyses indicated that children of intervention mothers in Miami were at lower risk for behavior problems from 24 to 60 months of age.


Randomized controlled trials documented effectiveness of the Legacy model over time while allowing for implementation adaptations by 2 different sites. Broadly disseminable, parent-focused prevention models such as Legacy have potential for public health impact. These investments in prevention might reduce the need for later intervention strategies.

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