Nurse-family effort in national spotlight

RALEIGH, N.C. – A collaborative effort in North Carolina that teams nurses with new and expectant families, along with similar efforts in Louisiana, Ohio and Washington State, has been selected to partner with the Pew Center on the States in a national campaign to promote nurse-family partnerships.

With $180,000 from Pew, North Carolina aims to develop plans to support and expand the statewide initiative by seeking funds from a new federal program that will provide grants for states to begin or expand evidence-based home-visiting programs.

Growing out of an initiative launched in Guilford County 10 years ago, the North Carolina home-visiting effort operates in eight sites serving 10 counties throughout the state.

Serving up to 825 families a year, the effort is part of a national Nurse-Family Partnership initiative that research has found improves maternal health and birth outcomes, and teaches mothers about child development, says Sorien Schmidt, director of policy and community engagement for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, a partner in the statewide alliance.

Nurses also work with expectant and new mothers on planning their futures and securing their economic self-sufficiency, Schmidt says.

Over the long-term, she says, the program results in improvement in children’s well-being and performance in school, and a reduction in child abuse and neglect.

Pew says research by Rand Corporation found that evidence-based home visitation yields returns of up to $5.70 for every dollar in taxpayer investment through reduced mental-health and criminal-justice costs, decreased dependence on welfare and increased employment for participating mothers and their children.

Other partners in the statewide collaborative effort are The Duke Endowment; Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; Division of Public Health, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation; and North Carolina Partnership for Children.

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