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Right from the Start

The Right from the start study is evaluating Early Home-Start for families with new babies. Early Home-Start support is a home-visiting scheme provided by volunteer community parents, offered during pregnancy following screening to identify support needs.


The aim of the study is to investigate whether offering Early Homes-Start visiting to a range of families will improve maternal and child health well-being, family social support and reduce the chance of child behaviour problems and family stress when compared to children and mothers in families from similar areas where all the usual services including Home-Start are available but there is no Early Home-Start.

The study is following up two groups of families during their baby’s first year: one group receiving the Early Homes-Start support; and one group who have access to all the usual services.  Selection of the areas where Early Home-Start is available was made randomly.



Home-Start is a voluntary organisation dedicated to supporting families with children under the age of five.  Home-Start offers a befriending service, helping families in their own homes with practical, social and emotional support provided by a trained volunteer from the local community.  The Home-Start philosophy is to establish a relationship between volunteer and family, which allows for flexible, open encouragement to enhance parents’ capacity to cope with their young family.  For more information:

Members of research team

Project Directors: Professor Jacqueline Barnes and Dr Rob Senior

Project Coordinators: Dr Kristen MacPherson


  • MacPherson, K., Senior, R., Lattin-Rawstrone, R. & Barnes, J.  (2005) Obstacles to gaining ethical approval for a multi-centre study of family support. Children & Society, 19, 237-245.
  • Barnes, J., MacPherson, K. & Senior, R. (2006)  Factors influencing the acceptance of volunteer home visiting support offered to families with new babies.  Child and Family Social Work, 11(2), 107-111.
  • Barnes, J., MacPherson, K. & Senior, R. (2006) The impact on parenting and the home environment of early support to mothers with new babies.  Journal of Children’s Services, 1(4), 4-20.
  • Barnes, J.  (2008)  It’s a simple idea- but does it really work?  Prevention Action. 6 March.



Funding for this study is provided by the Health Foundation (ref 1665/608).


A study of families with new babies

A study of families with new babies

Evaluating Early Home-Start

Evaluating Early Home-Start

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