The Family Check-Up and Service Use in High-Risk Families of Young Children: A Prevention Strategy with a Bridge to Community-Based Treatment

Patty Leijten, Daniel S. Shaw, Frances Gardner, Melvin N. Wilson, Walter Matthys, Thomas J. Dishion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Integration of empirically supported prevention programs into existing community services is a critical step toward effecting sustainable change for the highest-risk members in a community. We examined if the Family Check-Up—known to reduce disruptive behavior problems in young children—can provide a bridge to the use of community treatment services among high-risk indigent families. The study’s 731 income-eligible families with a 2-year-old child were screened and randomized to the Family Check-Up (FCU) intervention or a control condition. Families were provided yearly FCUs from age 2 through age 5. Regression analyses on families’ service use at child age 7.5 revealed increased service use, compared with that of the control group. Child disruptive behavior and socioeconomic status moderated the effect of the intervention on service use. Families who reported higher levels of disruptive child behavior and lower socioeconomic status showed more service use, suggesting the intervention increased service use among the highest-risk families. Greater use of community services did not mediate the effect of the FCU on reduced oppositional-defiant child behavior. Implications of these findings for the design and ecology of community treatment services in the context of evidence-based practices are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-406
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Community-based treatment
  • Effectiveness
  • Engagement
  • Family Check-Up
  • Family intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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