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Intervention strategies are needed to improve maternal and infant outcomes in minority populations living in poverty. Home visiting by nurses has improved outcomes for mothers and young children, but use of professional staff makes these programs expensive. Pride in Parenting was a randomized controlled trial of paraprofessional home visitation to provide health and developmental intervention for high-risk African American mothers in Washington, DC. This study proposed to test whether paraprofessional visitors drawn from the community could effectively influence health and mothers; parenting behaviors and attitudes. African American mothers with inadequate prenatal care were recruited at delivery and randomized to intervention or usual care groups. The intervention curriculum was delivered through both home visitation and parent-infant groups for 1 year. The intervention curriculum was designed to improve knowledge, influence attitudes, and promote life skills that would assist low-income mothers in offering better health oversight and development for their infants. Both intervention and usual care groups received monthly social work contact over the one-year study period to provide referrals for identified needs. The intervention participants improved their home environments, a characteristic important for promoting good child development. Mothers’ perceptions of available social support improved and child-rearing attitudes associated with child maltreatment were reduced. Paraprofessional home visitors can be successful in improving the child-rearing environments and parenting attitudes for infants at risk, perhaps offering a less costly option to professional home visitors.


This article was originally published in the Maternal Child Health Journal, available at DOI 10.1007/s10995-011-0858-x.

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