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Interventions for vulnerable families with children aged 0-3

Key message

The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) commissioned a report from The Social Research Unit at the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services to develop and conduct a systematic search, and sort possibly relevant references. The goal was to identify systematic reviews investigating the effect of interventions for at-risk families with children aged 0-3.

We conducted a systematic search of the literature, including medical and social science databases, for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The search was conducted in November 2012. The authors independently assessed the identified references for inclusion/exclusion and discussed their assessments in pairs. We then sorted the references according to population/type of risk.


  • We identified 3477 references in total. Of these, we found 69 to be relevant according to the inclusion criteria.
  • The possibly relevant references were sorted into 25 different categories according to population/type of risk. These categories were developed according to whether the risk factors apply to the children or their parents. The categories encompass a broad spectrum of environmental, socioeconomic, developmental, mental and somatic factors. Sorting the references by type of intervention was not considered practical, as most reviews investigated a broad set of intervention types.
  • The considerable number of systematic reviews identified in this report indicates that it would be appropriate and potentially valuable to continue the project as a full review of systematic review. However, this requires that we specify in more detail the relevant populations, interventions and outcomes. 

We have sorted and listed all possibly relevant references, but we have neither read the papers in fulltext, critically appraised their methodological quality, nor synthesised their conclusions.

About this publication

  • Year: 2012
  • By: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
  • Authors Hammerstrøm KT, Johansen S, Wollscheid S, Munthe-Kaas HM.
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8121-501-6