First time mothers to get help through $500k health district grant
Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The NFP is a nationally recognized, evidence-based nurse home visitation program the helps guide the lives of first-time, low income parents and their children. With the program, Polk, Rutherford and McDowell Counties will send a registered nurse to first time mothers from pregnancy through the child&squo;s second birthday. Registered nurses visit weekly for the first month and every other week until the child is born. Weekly visits continue for the child&squo;s first six weeks, then every other week until the child is 20 months old and monthly for the final four months. NFP is structured to improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in preventative health practices, including obtaining thorough prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diet, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal substances; improve child health and development by helping parents to provide responsible and competent care; and to improve the economic sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education and find work. &uot;We are very excited that we are a part of this expansion of the Nurse-Family Partnership,&uot; says Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District Health Director Buck Wilson. &uot;Evidence clearly shows that children and families benefit from this investment in their health and well-being, and we expect the families in Rutherford, Polk and McDowell Counties will experience those same results.&uot; According to statistics acquired over the program&squo;s 30-year history, NFP has shown substantial, consistent and dramatic results related to child health, child abuse and neglect, crime reduction and school readiness, including a 48 percent reduction in child abuse and neglect; a 56 percent reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings; a 59 percent reduction in arrest at child age 15; a 67 percent reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems at age six; and 72 percent fewer convictions of mothers at child age 15. The Duke Endowment, The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health, The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina are providing significant, long-term support of the program to expand it in North Carolina. The Polk County Board of Commissioners in recent months approved a resolution in support of the program and Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said hopefully a nurse will be available in Polk County soon to begin working with young mothers. The program is for first-time mothers, but other family members and fathers are encouraged to participate. Mothers should join the program before the 28th week of pregnancy. To be eligible, mothers must be pregnant with their first child and meet income requirements.