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Health Department to launch new program aimed at helping low-income, first-tme mothers

Sun May 15, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-Low-income, first-time expectant mothers will soon have a helping hand from nurses at the DuPage County Health Department thanks to a new program that will result in stronger families, reduced child abuse and neglect and better performance by children in school.

Under the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), developed by Dr. David Olds, DuPage County Health Department nurses will be teamed with low-income, first-time expectant mothers during regular home visits from before birth until the baby reaches two years of age.

This new initiative at the Health Department will improve women's prenatal health, reduce children's injuries, provide for greater intervals between births, increase involvement by fathers, enhance family employment, reduce the dependency on welfare and food stamps, and prepare children for school.

"The Nurse-Family Partnership has a 30-year track record of helping new moms and their children," said Linda Kurzawa, President of the DuPage County Board of Health.  "This is a life-changing program that combines compassion and science.  It is also a great addition to the many services already provided to DuPage County families by our Health Department."

Research conducted by the Nurse-Family Partnership Program finds that first-time mothers are very receptive to this program. When a young woman becomes pregnant before she's ready to take care of a child, the risk factors for the entire family escalate. The mother may have a family background of low wages, welfare, or worse.  Without intervention, these issues will likely continue even after the baby is born. Through this nurse-led and evidence-based intervention, vulnerable women become empowered to change their lives.

In choosing the DuPage County Health Department to launch this program, the National Service Office of the NFP noted that:

  • The Health Department is in a strong location and sees more than 98 percent of all Medicaid births, which allows for a smooth and steady flow of referrals.
  • An impressive process is already in place that works with home visiting programs within the community.
  • Extensive experience delivering home visits and other services to the community.
  • The Health Department was thoughtful while identifying and creating the responsibilities for the Partnership Supervisor.
  • Utilization of a Nurse Consultant to hire the Partnership Nurses.

Nurse-Family Partnership is founded on the pioneering work of Dr. Olds, professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and preventive medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. While working in an inner-city day care center in the early 1970s, Olds was struck by the endemic risks and difficulties in the lives of low-income children. He realized the children needed help much earlier-at home, with their mothers, when they were infants, and even before they were born. Olds' determination to help young children and families get a better start in life led to the development of a nurse home visitation program for first-time, low-income moms and their children.

The Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office, a national non-profit, was established in 2003 to facilitate quality replication of the Nurse-Family Partnership program across the U.S. and to provide implementing agencies with ongoing support in nursing education and practice, program quality assurance, marketing, public policy, and more.

To find out when this program goes into effect, please check back at the Health Department's website. You can also get the latest news and information on programs and services by following the Health Department on Twitter (@DuPageHD) and becoming a friend on Facebook.

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Health Department to launch new program aimed at helping low-income, first-time mothers