Professor Olds has focused his career on developing and testing a program of prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses for low-income mothers and their children, known as the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). NFP nurses guide pregnant women and parents of young children to improve the outcomes of pregnancy, their children’s health and development, and their economic self-sufficiency, with the goal of reducing disparities over the life-course. Professor Olds spent 20 years developing and testing the NFP in a series of randomized clinical trials before offering it for public investment in 1996 under an initiative sponsored by the US Justice Department.
The NFP is the only early childhood program that meets the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy’s “Top-Tier” of evidence; is considered to have the strongest evidence of any intervention that it prevents child maltreatment; and is the only program with evidence that it reduces child fatalities due to abuse and neglect. The NFP trials have served as the primary evidentiary foundation for a $2.3B federal investment in “evidence-based” home visiting. Today, the NFP serves over 33,000 families per day in the US and 18,000 families per day in eight other societies. Professor Olds’ work currently focuses on examining NFP impact on maternal and child health over the life-course; improving the program as it is implemented in community practice; and supporting its adaptation, implementation, and evaluation in international contexts.