In this section
right@home is a
nurse home visiting program designed
to promote family wellbeing and child development. The program places nurses in children’s homes from
birth to two years old, on a regular basis, to support mothers to develop
Research suggests one in five Australian children are born into disadvantage and by the time they start school are already behind their peers.
The early years present a unique opportunity for early intervention to prevent disadvantage for children.
A team of Australian researchers have developed right@home, an early intervention program that increases the number of visits
women facing adversity receive from maternal child health nurses, from birth until their babies’ turn two.
Mothers were offered the extra nurse home visits via the Maternal and Child Health Service – an existing universal service available to all Australian parents – to support parenting and children’s health and development.
Researchers followed up with mothers after their babies turned two and found there is strong evidence of program benefit, particularly for mother’s parenting skills and their capacity to care for themselves and their children.
In the years after the right@home program ended for women, there were ongoing benefits to family functioning, mothers’ wellbeing, and the foundational skills necessary for children's school success.
When considering the complexity of childhood inequities, right@home offers important, long-term protective benefits to Australian children and families. The research was led by the Centre for Community Child Health, a department of the Royal Children's Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
The right@home nurse home visiting program is based on the Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting (MECSH) program and incorporates additional modules to help parents care for and respond to their children, and create a supportive home learning environment. right@home began in 2012 and was the largest
randomised-control trial of nurse home visiting to be delivered through the
existing Australian universal health service.
The program ran at four locations in Victoria - Ballarat, Dandenong, Frankston and Whittlesea - and in three regions of Tasmania - Hobart, North and North West. 722 mothers experiencing adversity participated in right@home, with 363 in the intervention group receiving the extra nurse home visits and 359 in the control group receiving usual care via the Maternal and Child Health service.
right@home aims to find out how the universal child and family health nursing service might be improved to better meet the needs of all families.
This final newsletter provides an overview of the right@home program, what families said about the experience and what comes next.
Access the newsletter
Now that the children have turned 2, the study has evaluated the impact of the nurse home visiting program on:
After two years researchers followed up both the intervention group and the control group and found strong evidence of program benefit, particularly on mothers parenting skills, maternal mental health and children’s literacy. Mothers receiving extra nurse home visits had more regular child bedtimes, safer homes, warmer and less hostile parenting, and a more nurturing home learning environment. Mothers also said it improved their capacity to care for their children and themselves.
to Prof Sharon Goldfeld’s ABC interview to hear more about the findings
Read an article published in Pursuit by the
University of Melbourne, February 15 2019
Access our findings from Phase 1 published in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of American Paediatrics.
Families and children took part in ongoing interviews until children turned 6 years old and started school (i.e., 4 years after the program ended). The study has evaluated the longer-term effectiveness of the right@home nurse home visiting program on:
1. Children’s health and development, behaviour, language, and learning
2. Women's parenting, mental health, and wellbeing
3. Family functioning
In the years after the program ended and children started school, we found evidence of consistent benefits across multiple domains of child mental health, parenting and family relationships, maternal mental health, and wellbeing and across foundational skills necessary for school success.
We will link with children's NAPLAN scores in Grade 3, to understand if the program impacts children’s academic abilities when they are 8-9 years old.
right@home is a research collaboration between the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth
(ARACY); the Translational Research and Social Innovation (TReSI) Group at Western Sydney University; and the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH), which is a department of The Royal Children's Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. The research lead
investigator is Professor Sharon Goldfeld.
The nurses who participated in right@home are specifically trained and supported to work with parents and carers facing adversity. This enabled them to establish relationships with parents, and in turn, promote children’s development in the home. This training and support is the
cornerstone of right@home.
Phase 1 of right@home is funded by a combination of financial and ‘in-kind’ support from the following institutions and departments:
Phase 2 is funded by:
If you have questions about the right@home study, email:
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.