Oct 30, 2008


This home visitation program is designed to reduce stress levels, improve mental and improve parent outcomes among adolescent mothers. The intervention is intended for young mothers between 12 and 18 during their child’s first year. The curriculum relies on monthly parenting classes and weekly home visits that focus on teaching child development and parenting techniques to young mothers. In a random-assignment, controlled study, adolescent mothers were randomly assigned to either the home visitation group or the control group. Those receiving home visits were paired with a female volunteer for approximately a year of home visits. Home visits impacted only some parenting outcomes. Lower levels of parent-child dysfunction and fewer inappropriate expectations of the child were seen in the home visit group, but regular home visits had no significant impact on mental health or parental stress levels.



Target Population: Recent adolescent mothers, aged 12-18.

This program is designed to improve parenting stress, parenting behaviors, and the overall mental health of adolescent mothers. Volunteers are recruited and specially trained to implement a parenting curriculum during a series of visits. Participants then receive home visits from these volunteers for approximately 1½ hour for 50 consecutive weeks. During these visits, adolescents receive instruction on parenting techniques and child development for the first hour, and spend directed time with the child for the remaining half-hour. These visits are intended to reduce stress levels and improve parent-child interactions and the adolescents’ mental health. In addition to these individual visits, adolescents also participate in monthly parenting classes where they met with a licensed social worker.

Those in the home visitation group received weekly home visits by a female volunteer recruited from the community. In addition, the volunteers and the participants met with a licensed social worker once a month during group parenting classes. Each volunteer completed 16 hours of training with the Parent Aides Nurturing and Developing with Adolescents curriculum. Home visitors received $200 per year to compensate for travel and other expenses. The program designers estimate that it cost between $3,704 and $5,245 per teenage for about 1½ years of service



Barnett, B., Duggan, A. K., Devoe, M., & Burnell, L. (2002). The Effect of Volunteer Home Visitation for Adolescent Mothers on Parenting and Mental Health Outcomes. Arch Pediatrics Adolescent Medicine, 156:1216-1222.

Evaluated population: 232 adolescent women who were in their third trimester of pregnancy or delivered a baby in the previous six months. Students came from an alternative school for childbearing adolescents in a large urban city. The range of ages of participating students was 12-18 years.

Approach: 232 students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: home visitation (N=118) or control (N=114). All participants completed interviews at the beginning of the program and at its completion assessing their demographics, pregnancy and school history, social support, mental health, and parenting outcomes.

Home visitations, which continued until the child’s first birthday, focused on discussions about infant development, play activities, age-appropriate discipline and taking social and cultural outings. Adolescents in both groups received the typical services provided by the school including day care and parenting classes.

Results: Among participating adolescents, those who received home visits had significantly lower levels of parent-child dysfunction and inappropriate expectations of the child. Furthermore, although the differences were not large enough to be significant, adolescents receiving home visits had lower levels of lack of empathy and physical punishment. No differences in adolescent’s reports of satisfaction with social support, parenting stress levels, or mental health were found.


Link to program curriculum:


Barnett, B., Duggan, A. K., Devoe, M., & Burnell, L. (2002). The Effect of Volunteer Home Visitation for Adolescent Mothers on Parenting and Mental Health Outcomes. Arch Pediatrics Adolescent Medicine, 156; 1216-1222.

Program categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages: 12-18/ grades 6-12

Program components: Home visiting, parent or family component

Measured outcomes: Mental health, Life skills

KEYWORDS: Teen Mothers, Adolescence (12-17), Youth (16+), Young Adulthood (17-24), Home-based, Gender-specific (female only), Social/Emotional Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Home Visitation, Parent or Family Component, Life Skills Training, Parent-Child Interaction, Urban, Alternative School, African American or Black.

Program information last updated 10/30/08