MECSH Trial Outcomes

The Evidence

The original MECSH trial demonstrated the intervention was effective in improving child, maternal outcomes and the developmental quality of the home environment. The program evidence has been subjected to independent scrutiny and received approval as a quality evidence-based program by the USA Department of Health and Human Services Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) review (eligible for MIECHV funding).

Results of an Australian multi-site randomised controlled trial build on the growing body of evidence that the earlier a community invests in its children, the higher the return on investment for the child, their family and the whole community. The right@home (MECSH-based program) evaluation at child age 2 years shows proven benefits for parenting and the home environment, including helping mothers to get their child to bed at a regular time, ensuring the child is safe at home, providing warmer parenting, and ensuring the home is a place where their child learns.

Original Trial

The MECSH Randomised Controlled Trial (mothers were recruited between 2003-2005) demonstrated that children, mothers and their families who received the program achieved the following impacts and outcomes:

New mothers

  • tended to be more likely to experience a normal, unassisted vaginal birth;
  • felt significantly more enabled and confident to care for themselves and their baby;
  • had significantly better self rated health;
  • could name two or more measures to reduce cot death risk.


  • were breastfed for longer;
  • had improved cognitive development, particularly for children of mothers who were recorded as having psychosocial distress antenatally;
  • were more engaged with their mother.

Mothers of infants and toddlers

  • tended to have a better experience of being a mother, particularly for mothers who were recorded as having psychosocial distress antenatally and mothers who were born overseas;
  • provided a home environment that was supportive of their child’s development through improved verbal and emotional responsiveness, providing a more organised environment, providing developmentally appropriate play materials and greater parental involvement.

Drawing by a child of the MECSH Trial aged 4 years

 Drawing by a child of the MECSH Trial aged 4 years