Center for Psychosocial… Institute for… Research Prevention and…

Early Interventions for Families (PFIFF)

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. phil. Svenja Taubner, formerly: Prof. Dr. med. Manfred Cierpka

Funding: Heidehof Foundation, formerly: National Center for Early Intervention, Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior citizens, Women, and Youth

Duration: since 2008



Early childhood experiences have a long-lasting impact on a person’s physical and mental health. A healthy childhood development is facilitated through an adequate environment that is typically formed by childrens parents. Early intervention programs, such as “Nobody slips through the net”, aim to support parents in providing the optimal environment for child development. The early intervention program “Nobody slips through the net” offers support for parents, suffering from social or psychological burdens. In the program, families receive home visits by trained family midwives and family nurses during the first year of life, aiming to improve the parent-child interaction. The PFIFF-study investigates the long-term effectiveness of “Nobody slips through the net”.



The PFIFF study assesses the development of families who participated in the early intervention program, compared to a control group.  Assessments began in children’s’ first year of life and have so far covered seven measurement points until age nine.


The core measurements include developmental assessments, child resources as well as child symptoms. Parent and family assessments include personal resources such as parents’ reflective functioning, the families’ social and economic risks, as well as measures of parental symptoms and stress. The parent-child interaction was assessed via observer-rated measures in free-play situations as well as reports of parenting stiles.


Selected Publications

Cierpka, M. (2009). Keiner fällt durchs Netz. Wie hoch belastete Familien unterstützt werden können. Familiendynamik, 34(2), 156-167.

Cierpka, M., & Evers, O. (2014). "Keiner fällt durchs Netz". Wie eng muss das Netz geknüpft werden?. Psychoanalytische Familientherapie, 15(2), 7-33.

Cierpka, M., & Evers, O. (2015). Implementation and efficacy of early-childhood interventions in German-speaking countries. Mental Health & Prevention, 3(3), 67-68. doi:

Eickhorst, A., Borchardt, S., & Cierpka, M. (2012). Differentiated structures of early prevention measures for families at risk using the example of the project "Nobody Slips Through the Net". Praxis Der Kinderpsychologie Und Kinderpsychiatrie, 61(10), 781-790.

Eickhorst, A., Schweyer, D., Kohler, H., Jelen-Mauboussin, A., Kunz, E., Sidor, A., & Cierpka, M. (2010). Sensitivity of parents with psychosocial stress. Bundesgesundheitsblatt-Gesundheitsforschung-Gesundheitsschutz, 53(11), 1126-1133. doi:10.1007/s00103-010-1143-7

Evers, O., & Cierpka, M. (2015). Pathways in prevention–subgroups in an early preventive intervention program and their engagement with the child welfare service. Mental Health & Prevention, 3(3), 117-128. doi:

Nakhla, D., Eickhorst, A., & Cierpka, M. (2009). Praxishandbuch für Familienhebammen: Arbeit mit belasteten Familien. Frankurt am Main: Mabuse-Verlag.

Sidor, A., Eickhorst, A., Stasch, M., & Cierpka, M. (2012). Einschätzung der Risikobelastung in Familien im Rahmen von Frühen Hilfen: Die Heidelberger Belastungsskala (HBS) und ihre Gütekriterien. Praxis Der Kinderpsychologie Und Kinderpsychiatrie, 61(10), 766-780.

Sidor, A., Fischer, C., & Cierpka, M. (2013). Early regulatory problems in infancy and psychopathological symptoms at 24 months: a longitudinal study in a high-risk sample. Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior, 1(3). doi:10.4172/2375-4494.1000116

Sidor, A., Fischer, C., & Cierpka, M. (2015). The effects of the early prevention program “Nobody Slips Through the Net”: A longitudinal controlled study in an at-risk sample. Mental Health & Prevention, 3(3), 103-116. doi:

Sidor, A., Fischer, C., Eickhorst, A., & Cierpka, M. (2013). Influence of early regulatory problems in infants on their development at 12 months: a longitudinal study in a high-risk sample. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 7(1), 35. doi:10.1186/1753-2000-7-35

Sidor, A., Kunz, E., Eickhorst, A., & Cierpka, M. (2013). Effects of the Early Prevention Program "Keiner Fällt Durchs Netz" ("Nobody Slips Through the Net") on Child, Mother, and Their Relationship: A Controlled Study. Infant Mental Health Journal, 34(1), 11-24. doi:10.1002/imhj.21362