More than 20 years of research with 1,000s of culturally and socioeconomically diverse families funded by the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Education Science, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the Family Check-Up leads to positive child outcomes in early childhood and adolescence. The Family Check-Up works by helping parents improve their parenting practices – such as positive behavior support, monitoring, and setting limits – and by enhancing the quality of all their family relationships. Research also shows that the Family Check-Up leads to reductions in depression among parents, and these reductions are associated with improved child wellbeing.


Four children jumping in alley of trees


Impact in Childhood

Compared with the children of families who never participated in a Family Check-Up, children of those families that did participate have:

  • Fewer behavioral and emotional problems at school and home
  • Improved ability to regulate emotions
  • Improved school readiness
  • Improved health outcomes
  • Reduced risk for child abuse neglect

Impact in Adolescence

Compared to the adolescents of families who never participated in a Family-Check-Up, adolescents of those families that did participate have:

  • Less alcohol and drug use
  • Reduced antisocial behavior
  • Reduced bullying in school
  • Decreased delinquency, arrests
  • Improved grades and attendance
  • Reduced depression

Adolescents who participated in the Family Check-Up also had 77% fewer school absences and were 66% less likely to have failing grades.


Three people jumping on sidewalk near pile of snow


Long-Term Impact to Early Adulthood

Adolescents of families that participated in the Family Check-Up were followed into early adulthood. The Family Check-Up has long-lasting effects that include reductions in problem behavior and substance use and dependence.  In early adulthood, compared to the adolescents of families who never participated in a Family-Check-Up, adolescents of those families that did participate used:

  • 30% less marijuana
  • 54% less tobacco
  • 26% less alcohol
  • 38% less likely to be arrested in early adulthood
  • Decreased risk for suicidality


Kevin McGrath biography photo

Betty Lin biography photo

Scott Marsh biography photo

“The Family Check Up Model is a highly effective evidenced based model to assist foster families in dealing with the challenges in raising foster children. The families I have worked with find it extremely helpful and have noticed significant positive changes in their interactions with their foster children... I would highly recommend this program to anyone working with children and families.”
Kevin McGrath
NV Department of Health and Human Services

“Family Check-Up's comprehensive assessment provides a great springboard for conversation about family strengths and needs. Moreover, the collaborative and motivational interviewing components are effective at engaging families and empowering them to capitalize on their own strengths to increase child and family well-being.”
Betty Lin
Family Check-Up Provider
Phoenix, AZ


“The FCU has given us a supportive ‘foot in the door’ to begin potentially difficult conversations with parents. It has helped us come together with parents on the same side of the table to devise ways to support them and their student.”

Scott Marsh
Middle School Principal
Eugene, Oregon