Evidence-based research and results

More than a dozen outcome studies have been conducted on the effects of the Parents as Teachers model. Evaluations have been supported by various states, school districts, private foundations, universities and research organizations. With each new evaluation, we continue to learn about the children and families served by Parents as Teachers and the long-term impacts on communities. 

Results show:

  • Children’s developmental delays and health problems are detected early

  • Children enter kindergarten ready to learn and the achievement gap is narrowed

  • Children achieve school success into the elementary grades

  • Parents improve their parenting knowledge and skills

  • Parents are more involved in their children’s schooling

  • Families are more likely to promote children’s language and literacy

  • Child abuse and neglect is prevented

Summary of Research Findings: An Evidence-Based Home Visiting Model.


Our logic model offers a visual description of our theory of change and how we achieve desired outcomes.

See a full bibliography of Parents as Teachers studies.

Infographic summarizing the reach and impact of Parents as Teachers affiliates in 2017–2018.


Research Studies

We strongly encourage evaluation of Parents as Teachers at the local and state levels. If you are interested in conducting a Parents as Teachers evaluation, please contact us.

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 Recent research findings


Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Two recent studies looking at the impact Parents as Teachers has on primary prevention and secondary prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Primary prevention – Research looking at Parents as Teachers implemented in the state of Connecticut on a sample of almost 8,000 families found a 22% decreased likelihood of child maltreatment substantiations (as measured by Child Protective Services maltreatment data) for Parents as Teachers families compared to non-Parents as Teachers families (Chaiyachati et. al 2018).

Secondary prevention – A randomized-controlled trial looking at families that had prior engagement with Child Protective Services found that among non-depressed mothers or families without multiple Child Protective Services reports prior to study enrollment, Parents as Teachers was associated with a significantly lower likelihood of Child Protective Services recidivism (Jonson-Reid et. al 2018).



An international study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly examined the impact of Parents as Teachers on high-risk families with children ages 0-3. This randomized controlled study showed that children who participated in Parents as Teachers demonstrated higher adaptive behavior, self-control, child development, language skills, and vocabulary (Schaub, Ramseier, Neuhauser, Burkhardt, & Lanfranchi, 2019). Mothers who participated in Parents as Teachers showed increased parenting skills and displayed more sensitivity to their children (Neuhauser, Ramseier, Schaub, Burkhardt, & Lanfranchi, 2018). Summarized findings are in the ZEPPELIN infographic.

Parents as Teachers: A path to improved academic outcomes, school behavior, and parenting skills

A recent study that was published in Children and Youth Services Review investigated the impact of the Sunnyside School District Parents as Teachers program. This study reveals that children who participated in the Parents as Teachers are performing significantly better in terms of reading and math achievement and had a significantly lower rates of absenteeism, in-school-suspensions, and out-of-school-suspension, compared to their peers who did not participate in the Parents as Teachers program.

LIFE-Moms – Diabetes and Obesity Prevention

A unique partnership with Washington University in St. Louis and Parents as Teachers National center was spotlighted from the recent Editor’s Choice article in Obesity. The study finds that Parents as Teachers with a focus on lifestyle can effectively minimize excess maternal weight gain during pregnancy and through 12 months postpartum in underserved African-American women with obesity.

HEALTH – Diabetes and Obesity Prevention

This study aimed to assess the Parents as Teachers with a focus on health eating and active living at home (HEALTH) study. The study was designed to work with families with a caregiver that was overweight or obese and support them with making healthy lifestyle modifications. Findings found significant findings in weight loss and weight circumference and behavior modifications including increase in fruit and vegetable intake, a decrease in soda intake, and increases in physical activity.

Washington University in St. Louis, in partnership with Parents as Teachers, received a $3.3 million National Institute of Health grant to study obesity in young mothers. This will be scaling the pilot HEALTH study to replicate findings in more Parents as Teachers affiliates.


The Baby FACE Project provided home visitation services in 22 Bureau of Indian Educational (BIE) schools for three years. The Baby FACE program included bi-weekly home visits from PAT parent educators, group connections, screenings, and resource connections. Families were also provided with three children’s book each month. Twenty sites participated in the evaluation.

The process evaluation found that families received an average of 25.4 home visits and over 5,500 books were distributed with an average of 96.4 books per family. Baby FACE families spent more hours than comparison families reading to their children, they also had twice as many books at home and participated in a significantly greater number of literacy activities at home. Other positive outcomes of the intervention included an increase in child initiative and fewer behavioral concerns. Baby FACE findings can be seen in the Baby FACE report  and infographic

Innovative Approaches to Literacy

The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) provided literacy focused home visitation and literacy focused group connections to families living in high poverty areas. Along with home visits families received books through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library book distribution program. During this project more than 35,000 books were distributed.

A two level evaluation was conducting including and overall evaluation and the focal evaluation who used a subset of families. IAL findings can be seen in the IAL report  and infographic.  Results showed that the combination of the literacy enhanced PAT program and Imagination Library improved oral language developed in at risk children and increased home literacy activities.

Supporting Care Providers Through Personal Visits

The Supporting Care Providers Through Personal Visits curriculum and training are designed to increase the quality of home-based child care through providing personal visits.

Researchers at Cornell University find the Supporting Care Providers Through Personal Visit curriculum/training is effective. The providers that took part in this program were ranked higher than a control group in a number of important child care areas including providing basic care, learning activities, social development, opportunities for language and listening to improve childhood development and space and furnishing. Read more about the results of this randomized control trial.


Quality Improvement


In order to become a Parents as Teachers affiliate, an organization must be designed to meet the Parents as Teachers model fidelity requirements called Essential Requirements. These requirements cover affiliate leadership, staffing, services to families, and evaluation.

Each year, affiliates report implementation and service data to confirm they are meeting or exceeding the minimum levels for each Essential Requirement. Parents as Teachers also has Quality Standards that provide a comprehensive blueprint for high quality services delivery.

Together, the Essential Requirements and Quality Standards form the basis for the Parents as Teachers Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process (QEIP), which is the process that affiliates go through to demonstrate their commitment to high quality services and work to earn the Blue Ribbon designation.

All Parents as Teachers affiliates complete the QEIP every five years. To earn the Blue Ribbon, affiliates must meet all of the Essential Requirements and complete a comprehensive self-study that demonstrates they are meeting at least 75% of the Quality Standards. The Blue Ribbon is good for up to five years, as long as the affiliate continues to meet the Essential Requirements each year.

Programs that earn the Blue Ribbon are recognized by the National Center as exemplary affiliates, delivering high-quality services to children and families.