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Association between home visiting interventions and First Nations families health and social outcomes in Manitoba, Canada: protocol for a study of linked population-based administrative data

10 Oct 2017


First Nations people are descendants of Canada’s original inhabitants. In consequence of historical and ongoing structural injustices, many First Nations families struggle with challenging living conditions, including high rates of poverty, poor housing conditions, mental illness and social isolation. These risk factors impede caregivers’ abilities to meet their children’s basic physical and psychosocial needs. Home visiting programmes were developed to support child developmental health in families facing parenting challenges. However, whether home visiting is an effective intervention for First Nations families has not been examined. We are evaluating two home visiting programmes in Manitoba, Canada, to determine whether they promote nurturing family environments for First Nations children.

Methods and analysis

This research builds on new and established relationships among academic researchers, government decision-makers and First Nations stakeholders. We will link health, education and social services data from the Manitoba Population Research Data Repository to data from two home visiting programmes in Manitoba. Logistic regression modelling will be used to assess whether programme participation is associated with improved child developmental health, better connections between families and social services, reduced instances of child maltreatment and being taken into out-of-home care by child welfare and reduced inequities for First Nations families. Non-participating individuals with similar sociodemographic characteristics will serve as comparators. We will use an interrupted time series approach to test for differences in outcomes before and after programme implementation and a propensity score analysis to compare differences between participants and non-participants.

Ethics and dissemination

Approvals were granted by the Health Information Research Governance Committee of the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Health Research Ethics Board. Our integrated knowledge translation approach will involve disseminating findings through government and community briefings, developing lay summaries and infographics, presenting at academic conferences and publishing in scientific journals.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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