At the time of this review, Growing Great Kids™: Prenatal–36 Months (Growing Great Kids™) has been studied as part of an evaluation of two home visiting programs, both administered by the Children's Institute of Los Angeles (Children's Institute, 2012; Children's Institute, 2017). The first study evaluated the federal Abandoned Infant Assistance (AIA) program, while the more recent study evaluated the Institute's Early Head Start (EHS) program. Both of these studies found outcomes for children associated with their families' participation in a program that used the Growing Great Kids™: Prenatal–36 Months curriculum. However, these evaluation studies used descriptive methods and did not include comparison groups. More rigorous research is needed in order to establish evidence for positive effects of the Growing Great Kids™ curriculum on child outcomes.
For information on Growing Great Kids™ as a parenting curriculum, please see the Home-Based Parenting Curriculum database.
Rigorous Design: The Children's Institute conducted pre-post descriptive studies that explored how child outcomes changed after families participated in their programs. There were no comparison groups.
Sample and Generalizability: Both Children's Institute studies had small sample sizes (under 100 families in the final samples) and primarily included families with incomes below the poverty line. The children in the EHS sample ranged in age from 1 month to 30 months old, with a mean age of 10 months old when they began the program. Most children were from Latino families. The AIA sample included women who were pregnant as well as children up to 3 years and 8 months old, with a mean age of 13 months. All families in the AIA sample had multiple risk factors.
Fidelity of Implementation: The reports did not provide information on fidelity of implementation. Home visitors in both programs received a week-long training from an official Growing Great Kids™ trainer. In addition, the EHS evaluation reported that home visitors participated in individual supervision twice each month, group supervision monthly, and booster training sessions annually. The AIA evaluation reported weekly individual and group supervision. The EHS program included weekly 90-minute home visits. The AIA program included weekly 60–90 minute home visits, with weekly supplemental group sessions.
Parenting Outcomes: The EHS evaluation did not investigate effects on parenting outcomes. The AIA evaluation found that parents reported positive changes in their stress levels, attitudes, and beliefs after six months in the program.
Child Outcomes: Both evaluations investigated child outcomes in the domains of communication, fine and gross motor, problem-solving, and personal-social skills. The EHS evaluation compared children's development in these domains at intake and at 4, 8, and 12 months. They reported normative child development in these domains. In addition, children's gross motor skills developed, on average, at a faster pace than normative development. The AIA evaluation reported that, after six months, child outcomes in communication, problem-solving, personal-social skills, and total score were higher than developmental norms for the children's ages. The EHS evaluation also explored child outcomes in initiative/attachment relationships and self-regulation and found that children's skills corresponded to normative development.