Star Babies: Evaluation of a health visiting initiative for first-time parents in Northern Ireland

Bernie Reid, Elizabeth Gallagher, Julie Tracey, Susan Gault, Pamela McBride

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Star Babies is an enhancement of the universal Child Health
Promotion Programme in Northern Ireland, where first-time
parents are offered additional regular health visiting support
from the antenatal period until the baby is 12 months of age.
This study was carried out to evaluate outcomes of first-time
parents who received the core Child Health Programme or the
enhanced Star Babies programme to identify the areas where
the programmes are successful and to quantitatively assess the
magnitude of their impact. First-time parents were invited to
participate in the study and were divided into two groups: those
in the Star Babies programme (n=189) and those in the core
Child Health Promotion Programme (n=125). The study found
differences between the two groupings of first-time parents and
the evaluation of the health visiting services received in terms
of infant feeding, knowledge of preventing home accidents and
overall satisfaction varied across the two groups. The findings
highlight the positive outcomes from an enhanced health visitor
led programme such as Star Babies, with implications for policy,
practice and service development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-296
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Issue number7
Early online date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 Jul 2021


  • Healthcare roles
  • Public health
  • Population health


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