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Home-Start is an evidenced based practice

Home-Start has a long tradition of working with independent academic researchers to monitor and evaluate the work we do. Research into Home-Start has been undertaken internationally; primarily in the Netherlands and the UK. We pride ourselves on being a learning organisation using the evidence from the assessments of our practice to improve our services to families.

The research evidence has demonstrated repeatedly that the Home-Start approach, while cost-effective, has a positive impact on families and children with parents confirming that their lives have been changed by Home-Start. Research has also shown that Home-Start has a positive effect on the lives of volunteers.

In 2014 Home-Start received an evidence-based Best Practice commendation from the EU-European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) for the ‘’effectiveness, transferability and enduring impact’’ of its work. Click here for more information.

Examples of key research

The Home-Start impact on families (parents and children)

In the Netherlands, the impact of Home-Start on families was for many years the focus of research by Professor Jo Hermanns of the University of Amsterdam and his team. Over the years they published a number of peer reviewed papers and on their research studies. Of particular interest are two studies on the long-term impact of Home-Start. The first one published in 2013 looked at the impact of Home-Start on parental characteristics, parental behaviour and child behaviour at three and a half years after the Home-Start support while the second one published in 2015 looked at the impact 10 years after the Home-Start support.

The 2013 results demonstrated that, compared to two control groups, the Home-Start group showed more improvements in parenting (more responsiveness), and also diminished child behaviour problems (less oppositional defiant behaviour, affective problems and anxiety).

The 2015 results showed that the changes made during the Home-Start intervention were sustained at 10 years after the intervention. Thus, Parents were able to apply skills acquired during the Home-Start intervention to later stages in their children’s development.

This confirms the theory of change on which Home-Start intervention is based: support for parents at early childhood improves parental skills and behaviour which then has a long term positive impact on children’s outcomes.

  • Full title of the research: ’Long term changes in parenting and child behavior after the Home-Start family support program’ Jo M. A. Hermanns, Jessica J Ascher, Bonne J. H. Zijlstra, Peter J. Hoffenaar, Majaa Dekovic. University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Read the two studies:

Jo M. A. Hermanns, Jessica J. Asscher, Bonne J. H. Zijlstra, Peter J. Hoffenaar, Majaa Dekovic (2013). Long-term effects on changes in parenting and child behavior after the Home-Start family support program. Children and Youth Services Review, Vol.35, Issue 4, pp. 678-84

Jolien V. van Aar, Jessica J. Asscher, Bonne J.H. Zijlstra, Maja Deković and Peter J. Hoffenaar (2015). Changes in parenting and child behavior after the home-start family support program: A 10 year follow-up. Children and Youth Services Review, Vol.53, pp. 166-175

The Home-Start impact on volunteers

Over a two year period Home-Start UK collected and recorded the information of 108 volunteers working across London, from the start of their training through to their supervised work with families.

The results showed that:

➢ Volunteering as a home visiting family support volunteer has a positive impact for volunteers as well as for the direct beneficiaries – the families.

➢ There was improvement in the volunteers’ personal development; skills development; health and well being; inclusion in social networks and local communities; and their engagement with the labour market

➢ While the main motivational driver was altruistic, it is also important to acknowledge volunteering as a route into work

➢ Volunteers significantly improved their work ready skills

➢ Volunteers’ personal experiences were highly relevant for a family support volunteering role.

To read more about this interesting study:

Joyce Kenkre and Elizabeth Young (2015). The impact of volunteerism on volunteers. Leicester: Home-Start UK

See more of our research in the selected list of recent research articles below.