Early Childhood Intervention in the Community. . . Makes Sense, but Does it Really Work?

– Principal Investigator: Nazeem Muhajarine, University of Saskatchewan

Intervention Research Project
Timeline: April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2010
Funding Amount: $300,000

What is this research Program about?

This research project aims to evaluate an existing community-based population health promotion program in Saskatchewan, KidsFirst, an early childhood development intervention program that works at the family level to address multiple determinants of health. The goals of the intervention project are to determine whether KidsFirst has been effective in improving selected health and development outcomes, including increased quality of parent-child interactions; improved age- and capacity-appropriate child development; and improved perinatal and early child health outcomes for very vulnerable children.   

How will this research be done?

This intervention project is organized into three distinct phases. In Phase 1, in consultation with KidsFirst managers and staff, a comprehensive evaluation framework will be developed that will guide subsequent evaluation activities. Phase 2 will consist of an analysis of existing quantitative data and comparison of KidsFirst participants to a reference population using secondary data, followed by qualitative case studies designed to enhance understanding of the quantitative findings. In Phase 3, findings will be integrated, linking them to program goals and objectives and to the provincial context.

Why is this research important?
This is an applied research project being conducted jointly with provincial government stakeholders. Findings will both address research questions that people involved in KidsFirst have, and provide an evidence base for effective program delivery. Also, by building on other relevant population based-research, the researchers will contribute to emerging knowledge on promising or best practices in early childhood interventions in Canada, especially those directed at vulnerable families.

Nazeem Muhajarine
Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU, www.spheru.ca)
University of Saskatchewan