Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home Visiting (MECSH) Program


The Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting (MECSH) program is a structured program of sustained nurse home visiting for families at risk of poorer maternal and child health and development outcomes. It was developed as an effective intervention for mothers and families experiencing a range of adversities, including socioeconomic disadvantage, mental health issues, family violence, and previous engagement with the child protection system for themselves or their children. The MECSH program is designed to support any type of care-giver. However, it largely focusses on the biological mother and referrals are generally antenatal and/or at birth. Infants are usually enrolled from antenatal booking visit through to within 6-8 weeks of the infant’s discharge from hospital.


The MECSH program draws together the best available evidence on the importance of the early years, children’s health and development, the types of support parents need, parent-infant interaction and holistic, ecological approaches to supporting families to establish the foundations of a positive life trajectory for their children. The program has been demonstrated to be effective in two randomised controlled trials in Australia.

In addition, as yet unpublished evidence in England has shown that the program has a positive impact on the number of children on safeguarding plans, with 37 percent of families entering the MECSH program on a safeguarding plan, coming off the plan and continuing to care for their child with no ongoing safeguarding intervention.


Research ProjectCIFunding TypeFoR CodesYear
MECSH 2 to SchoolD/Prof Lynn Kemp, Dr Catherine Kaplun, A/Prof Rebekah Grace, A/Prof Elisa Baker, A/Prof Christine Woodrow, Ms Kerry Staples   
FRESCHDr Stacy Blythe, D/Prof Lynn Kemp