Increasing High School Graduation Rates for Low-Income Children

For over 50 years, The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) has had a proven record of implementing a Program supported by rigorous evidence.  Extensive empirical evidence has consistently supported the predicted effects of PCHP on underserved children and their parents.  PCHP has closely scrutinized its method and its outcomes every step of the way.  The result has been a large body of scientific literature, summarized below, supporting the value and benefits of the Program in relation to positive parent-child interactions, school readiness and later school success, parental involvement, and cost-effectiveness.


School Readiness and Later School Success

  1. In an independent matched comparison group evaluation in King County, WA:[1]
  • 44.6% of PCHP graduates in comparison to the 29.6% of the comparison group were found to be ready for kindergarten as measured by the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS);
  • Significantly more ELL PCHP graduates demonstrated a higher level of English proficiency in kindergarten (Level 3 or 4 on the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA) Placement Test).
  • PCHP graduates scored significantly higher on third grade WA Reading and Math achievement tests, performing above the state average in Math.
  1. For the past four years, New York University researchers have been conducting two randomized control trials in New York City. One study is of a culturally and linguistically diverse cohort, and the other a 100% Spanish-speaking cohort.  Key findings include: [2]
  • PCHP children in both studies have better social emotional skills and better language skills than the control group – two key indicators of school readiness.
  • English-speaking PCHP children demonstrated stronger language skills than children in the control group. (e.g. receptive language)
  • Spanish-speaking children who participated in PCHP demonstrated stronger language skills than children in the control group (e.g. expressive and receptive).
  • Program parents reported pro-social competence more often than control group parents (e.g. fewer problem behaviors such as hitting and not getting along with others).
  1. A multi-site, longitudinal, location-randomized evaluation of PCHP participants found that as of third grade there was a statistically significant reduction in the need for special education classes for PCHP graduates as compared to controls (14% vs. 39%).[3]
  1. A longitudinal randomized control group study of The Parent-Child Home Program found that low-income children who completed two years of the Program went on to graduate from high school at the rate of middle class children nationally, a 20% higher rate than their socio-economic peers, 30% higher than the control group in the community.[4]


Strength-based Parenting and Parental Involvement

  1. In randomized control trials, PCHP had significant ongoing positive effects on participating parents’ interaction with their children, in contrast to control group families examined before, after, and two years after completion of the Program. PCHP parents’ verbal interaction with their children showed a lasting superiority over that of the control group, and this parent-child interaction correlated with children’s first grade cognitive and social emotional skills.[5]
  1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s independent evaluation of PCHP replications in two Pennsylvania counties indicates that positive parenting behaviors increased dramatically as a result of the Program. Half of the children identified as “at risk” in their home environments at the start were found to be no longer at risk at the completion of the Program.  The number of positive interactions between parent and child increased significantly during program participation, including instances of praise and/or encouragement observed.[6]
  1. Multiple studies show that families participating in home visiting programs, including PCHP, talk more, read more, and have more positive interactions with their children. They engage in more educational activities at home and in their communities.[7]


Cost Effectiveness

  1. PCHP utilizes a model of early intervention and remediation that can result in long-term savings by increasing school readiness and reducing the need for special ed services. An independent study, conducted by the City of New York Office of the Comptroller, calculates savings from the reduced need for special education services for PCHP graduates at $210,000 per child.[8]
  1. Participating in home visiting programs also yields long-term economic benefits. An independent report produced by the City of New York Office of the Comptroller estimates that participation in The Parent-Child Home Program could increase a participant’s lifetime earnings potential by between $600,000 and $1M.[9]
  1. Another independent study of the job creation and earnings creation effects of PCHP shows that the Program increases residents’ earnings by 5.66%. The study finds that PCHP has such a high ratio of earnings effect to net program costs because the Program achieves a considerable increase in the high school graduation rate at a relatively low two–year program cost per child.  The study estimates that if PCHP were implemented nationally the long-term annual effects (by 2088) on the economy would be:
    • 300,000 jobs
    • $53 billion in generated earnings
    • $42 billion in annual government revenue.[10]

[1] ORS Impact (2015), Long-Term Academic Outcomes of Participation in the Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) in King County, WA.  Seattle, WA.

[2] Astuto, J. (2014), Playful learning, school readiness, and urban children: Results from two rcts. PCHP Annual Meeting. Uniondale, NY. May 2014. New York University

[3] Lazar, I., & Darlington, R. (1982). Lasting effects of early education: A report from the Consortium of Longitudinal Studies. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 47 (Serial No. 195).

[4] Levenstein, P., Levenstein, S., Shiminski, J. A., & Stolzberg, J. E. (1998). Long-term impact of a verbal interaction program for at-risk toddlers: An exploratory study of high school outcomes in a replication of the Mother-Child Home Program. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology; 19, 267-285.

[5] Madden, J., O’Hara, J. M., & Levenstein, P. (1984).  Home again.  Child Development, 55, 636-647.

[6] Rafoth, M. & Knickelbein, B. (2005).  Cohort One Final Report:  Assessment Summary for the Parent Child Home Program.  An evaluation of the Armstrong Indiana County Intermediate Unit PCHP program, Center for Educational and Program Evaluation located at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

[7] Kamerman, S.B. & Kahn, A.J. (1995), Starting Right, New York: Oxford University Press

[8] Hevesi, Alan G. “Building foundations: Supporting parental involvement in a child’s first years.” A report from the City of New York Office of the Comptroller. 2001.

[9] Hevesi, Alan G. “Building foundations: Supporting parental involvement in a child’s first years.” A report from the City of New York Office of the Comptroller. 2001.

[10] Bartik, Timothy J., “The Economic Development Effects of Early Childhood Programs.” A report for the Partnership for American’s Economic Success. 2008

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