The health of children in families with low incomes improves when their caregivers receive one-on-one assistance with social needs such as lack of food and shelter, a new study found (Source: “Child Health Improves When Caregivers Get One-on-One Help,” HealthDay, Sept. 9, 2016).
The study published in JAMA Pediatrics included 872 families who were provided with a "navigator" to help them tackle assorted social needs. Another 937 low-income families were in a control group that received minimal help.
The children were primarily Hispanic and black. Their average age was 5. Caregivers were mostly women and family incomes were below the federal poverty level, the study authors said.
In the intervention group, navigators provided caregivers with information about resources such as child care, help paying utility bills, transportation and shelter arrangements. The caregivers in the control group received written information about resources, but no help from a navigator and no follow-up.
Four months into the study, the number of social needs reported in the navigator group was reduced and the intervention group also reported more improvement in overall child health status, the study showed.