This project and its evaluation were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the delivery of the intervention has been adapted and extended and outcome data collection will be later than planned. You can access the updated evaluation protocol here.

ParentChild+ is an intensive home visiting programme. Visits occur twice weekly for 15 months and are delivered by a trained home visitor. The curriculum is delivered in two cycles, each a minimum of 23 weeks (46 visits), resulting in every family receiving at least 92 visits. During these visits, home visitors model reading, conversation and play activities. They support parents on the importance of parent-child interaction and give them books and educational toys to enrich the home learning environment. Collectively, these activities aim to increase parent-child interaction, promote positive behaviours and encourage literacy skills.

The project has been delivered extensively in the US since 1965 (currently in 14 US states), in addition to Chile, Bermuda, Canada and Ireland. It is currently being piloted in Ealing, Nottingham and Newcastle. The programme will work in collaboration with the four South Yorkshire local authorities (Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley) to target disadvantaged families who are eligible for, but not taking up, the entitlement to free childcare for disadvantaged 2-year-olds, including Children in Need. It is supported by South Yorkshire Futures (led by Sheffield Hallam University) who will facilitate partnerships, provide resources and carry out additional research on impact. 

Why are we funding it?

As part of the Home Learning Environment Round, the EEF has partnered with the Department for Education and Leeds-based education charity SHINE to test projects that support parents to help improve their children’s learning and development before they start school. ParentChild+ (formerly known as Parent Child Home Programme) has promising evidence from a number of US trials, reporting improvements in cognitive outcomes for disadvantaged pre-school children. The approach is intensive and therefore expensive on a per-child basis; however, it represents a promising approach to working with families not otherwise using early years settings or accessing other forms of support.

How are we evaluating it?

The programme will be evaluated by a team from the University of York, Durham University and Leeds Beckett University as a randomised controlled trial in four local authorities. The focus will be on children aged 2-4, with parents randomly allocated within each local authority to receive the programme or to continue with usual practice. The primary outcome will be receptive vocabulary. A process evaluation will also be conducted to understand how the programme is implemented, and to gather the views of participants.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Summer 2022.