Nurse-family partnership improves lives

A 30-year-old program is quietly transforming the lives of at-risk mothers and babies.
The Nurse-Family Partnership, established in Louisiana in 1999, pairs public health nurses with first-time moms.  The relationship continues for two-and-half years, with the nurses guiding the mothers through pregnancy, childbirth and the first two years of parenting.  Nurses make regular home visits, provide healthcare and act as cheerleaders/life coaches for the moms, encouraging them to pursue personal goals.

The Partnership, which is active in 28 states, decreases maternal smoking, drug use and violence and increases maternal education and workforce participation. The children thrive too:  One study shows that 93% of enrolled 21-month olds scored at or above normal on language development.  94% are fully immunized by two years of age.

The program continues to expand.  Humboldt County in California launched the Nurse-Family Partnership in July and recently accepted a $100,000 grant in order to double the number of nurses (and moms) in the program.

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