right@home is a nurse home visiting program designed to promote family wellbeing and children's health and development.

In the program, nurses visit families in their homes from pregnancy or near birth to when children turn two years old. By offering high quality support in families’ home and on a regular basis, the program supports parents to develop their parenting confidence and skills.

Supporting children’s early development and learning helps build their brains and bodies, creating health and wellbeing now and into the future. Unfortunately, not all children and families receive the support they need for positive child health and development. What’s more, the effects of adversity on children are evident by the time they start school and enduring. Nurse home visiting is an evidenced-based model of care for addressing the effects of early adversity and promoting parent and child health, wellbeing, and development.

In the right@home program, we offered mothers extra nurse home visits via the Child and Family Health Nursing Service (also known as Maternal and Child Health), an existing universal service available to all Australian parents with children from birth to school entry. 

Learn more about the importance of nurse home visits

The nurses who participated in right@home were specifically trained and supported to work with parents and carers experiencing a broad range of factors that are commonly related to adversity. Visiting families in their homes enabled strong relationships between nurses and parents which, in turn, promoted parents’ wellbeing and children’s learning and development. This evidence-informed training and support set  right@home apart from most other nurse home visiting programs delivered in Australia.

Our impact and insights

We followed up with mothers after their babies turned two and found strong evidence of program benefit, particularly for mother’s parenting skills and their capacity to care for themselves and their children.

In the years after the right@home program ended for women, there were ongoing benefits to family functioning, mothers’ wellbeing, and the foundational skills necessary for children's school success.

When considering the complexity of childhood inequities, right@home offers important, long-term protective benefits to Australian children and families.

Our approach

The right@home nurse home visiting program is based on the Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting program. right@home incorporates additional modules to help parents care for and respond to their children and create a supportive home learning environment.

The program began in 2012 and was the largest randomised-control trial of nurse home visiting to be delivered through the existing Australian universal health service.

The program ran in locations across Victoria and Tasmania including:

1.    Ballarat (VIC)
2.    Dandenong (VIC)
3.    Frankston (VIC)
4.    Whittlesea (VIC)
5.    Hobart (TAS)
6.    Northern Tasmania
7.    North-West Tasmania

A total of 722 mothers experiencing adversity participated in right@home. In the intervention group, 363 mothers received the extra nurse home visits. In the control group, 359 mothers received usual care via the universal Child and Family Health Nursing Service (also known as the Maternal and Child Health Service).

Phase one: birth to 2 years

Once children had turned 2, we evaluated the impact of the nurse home visiting program on:

  • parent care skills including feeding, sleeping and safety
  • responsivity as parents including bonding with baby    
  • the home learning environment to foster language and literacy.

Our findings

After two years we followed up both the intervention group and the control group. We found strong evidence of program benefit, particularly on mothers’ parenting skills, maternal mental health and children’s literacy.

Mothers offered the extra nurse home visits had:

  • more regular child bedtimes
  • safer homes
  • warmer and less hostile parenting
  • a more nurturing home learning environment. 

Mothers also said it improved their capacity to care for their children and themselves.

Our team

  • Prof Sharon Goldfeld, Principle Investigator
  • Dr Anna Price, Trial Manager and Investigator 
  • Dr Fiona Mensah, Investigator 
  • Francesca Orsini, Investigator

Partners and funders

right@home is a research collaboration between the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth; the Translational Research and Social Innovation Group at Western Sydney University; and the Centre for Community Child Health, which is a department of The Royal Children's Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

right@home was funded by financial and ‘in-kind’ support from the following institutions and departments:

  • Victorian Department of Education and Training
  • Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council
  • The Ian Potter Foundation
  • Sabemo Trust
  • Sidney Myer Fund
  • Vincent Fairfax Family fund

Contact us

If you have questions about the right@home study, email: [email protected]