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Family Nurse Partnership: what works in England and Germany

Researchers: Dr Gabriella Conti | Dr Michael Robling ...

Project overview

This secondary analysis project will investigate the mechanisms by which two prenatal home-visiting programmes for disadvantaged first-time teenage mothers; the Family Nurse Partnership in England and Pro Kind in Germany ‘ have impacted children’s cognitive development in the first few years of life.

Randomised controlled trials have shown that the programmes, which are both adaptations of the Nurse Family Partnership in the US, significantly improved the cognitive development of the treatment group children in the first two years after birth. However, the data have not yet been exploited to investigate why the programmes had these positive results.

The project team will employ sophisticated econometric techniques to explore the extent to which different factors (alone or in combination) mediated the effects of the programmes on children’s different cognitive abilities, making use of all the available data (up to age six in England and age seven in Germany). Key factors to be considered include:

  • Parental behaviours (e.g. quantity and quality of child interactions)
  • Home visitor characteristics (e.g. level of experience)
  • Length of visits
  • Material covered in visits
  • Variation in the level of standard services received by control groups.

The findings will contribute to the continued evolution of the two programmes and to the development of early interventions aimed at parents more generally.


  • Dr Gabriella Conti
    University College London
  • Dr Michael Robling
    University of Cardiff
  • Malte Sandner
    German Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

  • Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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