The Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE)

2011-2021
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

Providing services to expectant parents and families with young children can lead to better outcomes for at-risk children. A growing body of research suggests that the support provided by early childhood home visiting programs can prevent child maltreatment, improve maternal and child health outcomes, and increase school readiness. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program provides grants to states, territories, and tribal entities to fund home visiting services for pregnant women and families with children ages birth to 5.

MIHOPE is a legislatively mandated, large-scale evaluation of the MIECHV program funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The randomized controlled trial includes 4,229 families from 88 sites in 12 states. Mathematica enrolled families into the study, obtained informed consent from study participants, randomly assigned families into the treatment and control groups, collected outcome data for children and families via baseline telephone surveys, and observed the quality of the home environment. Mathematica also collected videos of 385 home visits; led site recruitment; provided technical assistance for research sites in Illinois and New Jersey; and contributed to the design, analysis, and reporting of findings for the implementation study. Mathematica is also conducting follow-up telephone surveys with families and in-home assessments when children are about 15 months old. As part of the in-home assessments, the study team is assessing children’s preschool language skills, observing the quality of the home environment, conducting video recorded observations of parent and child interactions, and recording mother and infant height and weight measurements. Mathematica is assisting with data analyses, specifically analyses of community characteristics, linkages with community services providers, and vital records data. The contract was awarded to MDRC with subcontracts to James Bell Associates, Johns Hopkins University, Mathematica, the University of Georgia, and Columbia University.

As an extension of this work, Mathematica helped design and currently conducts a series of surveys to collect information from MIHOPE families when the focal child is about 2½ and 3½ years old. The two primary goals of this information collection, called the MIHOPE Check-In project, are to: (1) collect updated contact information for families to ensure they are accessible in the future for additional follow-up studies, and (2) collect updated information on outcomes for parents and children. For each follow-up, the study team will collect information from families through a 25-minute questionnaire completed on the web or by telephone. The contract was awarded to MDRC with a subcontract to Mathematica.

The MIHOPE study also aims to examine the long-term effects of home visiting on participating families. To this end, Mathematica is helping to develop alternative design options and a measurement plan for continued, long-term follow-up of MIHOPE study families. The goal of the MIHOPE Long-Term Follow-up (MIHOPE-LT) project is to better understand how home visiting services provided to expectant parents and families with young children can lead to better long-term outcomes for at-risk children and families. MDRC conducts MIHOPE-LT in partnership with Mathematica and the University of Georgia.