, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 221-240

Evaluating “Starting Well,” the Scottish National Demonstration Project for Child Health: Outcomes at Six Months

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Abstract

This paper presents early findings from the evaluation of Starting Well, an intensive home visiting program aimed at improving the health of pre-school children in disadvantaged areas of Glasgow, Scotland. Using a quasi-experimental design, detailed survey, observation and interview data were collected on a cohort of 213 intervention and 146 comparison families over the first six months of the child’s life. After controlling for relevant background characteristics, multivariate regression analysis revealed higher child dental registration rates and lower rates of maternal depressive symptoms in the intervention cohort. Findings are interpreted as positive evidence of early program impact. Implications, limitations and future plans for analysis are discussed.

Editors’ Strategic Implications: Starting Well draws on elements of an Australian parent education program and an American home visitation model. The authors demonstrate how the program implementation, research questions, and measurement are designed to fit their Glasgow population and the Scottish public health system. Their quasi-experimental data suggest that this primary prevention program is a promising strategy for improving maternal and child health outcomes.