Nurse-Family Partnership

Nurse-Family Partnership's mission is to empower first-time mothers living in poverty to successfully change their lives and the lives of their children through evidence-based nurse home visiting. The goals of the Nurse-Family Partnership program are: 1. Improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices, including thorough prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diets, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal substances; 2. Improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care; and 3. Improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision fo...
Jan 9, 2013

Fighting Childhood Poverty

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps to fight childhood poverty in the United States. Attached to this report is a great article about the struggles of one family in Utah and how they are supported by Nurse-Family Partnership. This is an example of one out of more than 23,000 Nurse-Family Partnership families across 42 states that are really trying to provide a good start in life to their baby.

Every year, more than 500,000 babies across the United States are born into low-income homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Studies by the Department of Health and Human Services show that low-income children are more likely to suffer from physical abuse and neglect, have parents in conflict with the law, be exposed to toxic chemicals and experience hunger. They are also more likely to struggle in school, to repeat grades and have behavioral problems.

All of these stressors of being born into poverty are addressed by Nurse-Family Partnership and your generosity and advocacy of NFP helps make it possible to serve more and more of these families every year.



Links:

Oct 4, 2012

Fathers matter too!

Antoinette and Carles with their son Carnell
Antoinette and Carles with their son Carnell

Sure, Nurse-Family Partnership is known as a maternal and child health program, and first-time mothers enroll in the program to receive nurse home visits. But we know how much fathers matter, too. That’s why Nurse-Family Partnership encourages expectant fathers to be involved in the nurse home visits, whenever possible. 

Independent research makes the risks clear: children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And when fathers are present in a healthy home environment, good things happen: researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that low-income or high-risk children who have fathers in their lives learn better, have higher self-esteem, and show fewer signs of depression than children without fathers.

Nurse-Family Partnership can make a difference. Research published in JAMA® reports families in the program have a 46-percent increase in father presence in the household. It is just one of Nurse-Family Partnership’s positive, documented outcomes that come when first-time moms and dads learn to be competent, caring parents to their child.

Our goal is to help first-time parents succeed, so that the whole family is healthy and strong.  Following is a story of just one of our many families who are working hard to succeed:
 
Vickie Ghent has been a nurse for 30 years, including 10 years serving as a missionary in Papua New Guinea. Today, she works for the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) in Dallas, Texas, helping low-income, first-time mothers cope with all the challenges of raising a baby. You might think that her work in Texas is a far cry from her experiences in the bush, but Vickie will be the first to tell you: nothing could have prepared her better.

In fact, Vickie feels particularly attuned to all the obstacles faced by low-income families in America today. They don’t have the time (or often the land) to grow their own food, so they have to buy it. They have to pay for transportation, because their daily tasks go well beyond the walking-distance boundaries of a small village. They must also pay for electricity, housing, health care and other basic needs. And all of this becomes even more complicated and expensive when they have another mouth to feed.

Antoinette, pregnant at 18, personifies the young women for whom these simple basics are truly obstacles, and she was one of Vickie’s earliest clients. When she discovered she was pregnant, Antoinette was scared and had few places to turn for help. Fortunately, she learned about the Nurse-Family Partnership from a visit to her local WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office, where she was introduced to Vickie for the first time. Antoinette’s timing could hardly have been more fortuitous: she was nearing the enrollment cut-off point for the local program.

For their first NFP visit, Vickie traveled to West Dallas where Antoinette was living with her mother, her younger brother and her aunt in low-income HUD housing. The home was cluttered and so dark inside that Vickie could barely see her paperwork in front of her. But Antoinette’s personality provided a light of its own, and she was full of questions and eager to learn.

Antoinette had just graduated from high school but still didn’t have a job. She expressed concern about her mother’s constant financial troubles. She suffered from asthma and asked how it might affect her pregnancy. She confessed to being terrified of needles and wanted to know how much labor would hurt. “She really needs help,” Vickie thought as she took detailed notes in her client file. Fortunately for Antoinette, the help she needed was exactly what NFP provides.

After a few weeks, Carles, Antoinette’s boyfriend and the baby’s father, began attending the sessions with Vickie. Skeptical at first, he quickly warmed to “Miss Vickie.” He shared the intimate details of his own childhood during NFP’s standard “life history” discussion. Carles was the youngest of 20 children his father had sired with various women. His mother was a drug addict who once sold Carles’ only pair of jeans for drugs. He told Vickie that he was worried about how to be a father because he didn’t have any role models. “I want to be there for my family,” he said.

Despite their positive attitudes and diligent attention to all of Vickie’s advice, Antoinette and Carles lurched from one crisis to another. Antoinette’s mother periodically threw her out of the house. Carles spent more than a few nights sleeping in his car. Antoinette had to give up the temp job she found because of frequent asthma attacks. And when the couple saved enough to buy a car, they drove it off the lot only to have it break down, leading to the first of many costly repairs.

Through it all, Vickie remained a constant, reassuring presence in their lives. Whenever Carles called to say, “Miss Vickie, I don’t know what to do,” she always had calming advice. She helped the couple find another car, brought them to the Medicaid office to get their health insurance sorted out, and scheduled some of their meetings at McDonald’s so Carles could use the free Internet access to look for jobs online. She even used her small discretionary NFP allowance to buy Carles a new pair of jeans. “Remember,” she would say as a visit was ending, “you can always call me and I’ll call back. Everything is going to be all right.”

When Antoinette and Carles’ son Carnell was born, he was a healthy 8-pound baby. Antoinette and Carles continued their meetings with Vickie where she would educate them on good parenting skills, monitored Carnell’s progress and continued to support the couple’s day-today well being. While Antoinette was a natural mother, Carles worried that Carnell didn’t seem to like him even though Carles adored his new son. He confessed to Vickie that he thought he was doing something wrong and even felt jealous of the closeness Antoinette enjoyed during breastfeeding.

Vickie discussed all of this openly with Carles. “Your feelings are perfectly normal,” she reassured him. “Be patient. The more you play with Carnell and interact with him, the more he’ll get used to you. And don’t worry,” she added with a laugh, “He’s going to like you one day, and one day after that, he’ll like you more than he likes his mother. He won’t leave you alone!” Beyond comforting Carles, Vickie taught him some of the basics of fatherhood like how to hold the baby, how to feed him, and how to change a diaper.

Two years and countless diapers later, Carles and Antoinette were ready to graduate from the NFP program. Vickie was tremendously proud of their progress. Antoinette was working as a receptionist at a nonprofit organization and Carles had a job at Wal-Mart. Antoinette’s mom had allowed Carles to move into their home, and the couple was planning a June wedding. Antoinette was enrolling in college to get her bachelor’s degree in science and Carles’ had set a goal to get his bachelor’s when Antoinette was finished. They had begun saving to move into a place of their own. Carnell was in a daycare program that he loved and where his teachers loved him, too. “Perhaps a little too much,” Carles told Vickie after the daycare staff sent Carnell home with candy – again.

Today, Antoinette and Carles have graduated from Nurse-Family Partnership, but remain in touch with Vickie. In fact, Antoinette recently recommended a friend to Vickie and the NFP program and occasionally “crashes” their appointments so she can catch up with her former nurse. Antoinette loves knowing that Vickie is still in her life – but she also knows that Vickie has given her and Carles the skills to persevere and succeed on their own.

Vickie admits she was worried about her clients at the beginning, but she never doubted they would succeed. One day, just before their graduation from NFP, Carles showed that he knew it too. “You know, Miss Vickie,” he told her, “We don’t have anything bad to tell you today. We’re doing okay! We can actually say we’re going to make it. We’re really going to make it.”

Links:

Oct 1, 2012

Helping new families advocate for themselves!

Lum and Min with their son, Bless
Lum and Min with their son, Bless

One of the goals of Nurse-Family Partnership is to encourage and teach the moms and families to be the best possible advocates for their babies and themselves that they can be.  Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps examples such as Lum's story, below, become possible.

Lum was just beginning her new life in the United States when she found out she was pregnant. She and her boyfriend Min, both refugees from Burma, would have their first child together. It was another great challenge in their young lives.

Lum had fled Burma out of fear of the militant groups, and had lost her mom to a violent death in Burma. She was thankful to be in the United States, but she now had only her sister and brother as family to turn to in Des Moines as she and Min started their own family.

Then a local healthcare provider referred her to the Nurse-Family Partnership program at Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.

“As refugees, we really need someone to be a guide for us. I didn’t know how to take care of a baby, and the culture in my home country is different than the culture in this country,” said Lum.

Because Lum spoke little English, Marcia’s first home visit with Lum was done through a Chin-speaking interpreter. Marcia saw a timid and reserved young woman. “We really needed my nurse Marcia,” said Lum. “She could see how I lived – what I needed. When Marcia comes to my home, I feel more comfortable for talking.”

Lum relied on Marcia to help her fill out her Medicaid enrollment forms, decipher mail from state agencies and call her doctor. Lum was lost in a new country without the knowledge of how to access resources. “I had to help her advocate for herself,” Marcia said.

“Because I didn’t have a parent in the U.S., I felt really lonely,” Lum continued. “I didn’t know anything about being a mother. Marcia was like my sister, parent and my wonderful teacher. I was so happy when I met with Marcia. I could ask her everything I needed. I asked her so many questions.”

As the home visits with Marcia continued, Lum stopped using the interpreter and practiced her English. And, she slowly opened up when Marcia asked one special question: what was Lum’s heart’s desire? Lum said she wanted to have her very own hair salon.

“It was my dream to have my own salon!” Lum recalled. “I thought when I became pregnant maybe it’s too much to want my own salon. When I told Marcia, she convinced me that I could get my dream. She made me feel more comfortable.”

Marcia encouraged her to follow her dream by taking classes at the Iowa School of Beauty.

“I saw many strengths in Lum,” Marcia said. “She was industrious and hardworking. And she had a desire to succeed and the benefit of a wonderful support system.”

Lum was trying to do it all while being pregnant, and it wasn’t easy. She attended school for eight hours a day, and then would continue on to work evenings at a chain store until 11 p.m. Adding to her load, her pregnancy was making her nauseous and tired. As they watched her try to cope, her family and Min decided they would take on additional responsibilities to help Lum concentrate on graduating and allow her to stop working.

She was determined to graduate from beauty school, but had her final few weeks of pregnancy to go. With her graduation planned just over a week before her due date, Lum knew timing was everything. She had to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy to be able to attend all the classes needed for graduation. With guidance from her nurse Marcia, support from her family and a bit of luck, Lum finished her classes before giving birth to a beautiful, healthy son. Lum and Min named him Bless – for the blessing he adds to their lives.

Marcia says the Nurse-Family Partnership aims for three main goals for every client: healthy pregnancy and delivery, improved child health and development, and economic self-sufficiency. Lum is achieving all three.

“I’ve gotten to see her inner strengths grow and blossom as I’ve watched her evolve and transform into a strong, confident mom,” said Marcia.
“Marcia gives me strength,” Lum remarked. “She was my guide to become more powerful. Marcia is my light.”

As Bless approaches his second birthday, Lum no longer needs public support from WIC or Medicaid. With her partner Min to do the electrical wiring and her family and Marcia connecting her with resources, Lum has made her dream come true. She is now is the owner of The Amazing Beauty Salon. She even had the self-reliance to develop a business plan and to take out a small business loan. Lum’s salon is attracting customers and she has hired her first employee.

“The Nurse-Family Partnership program really helped her to be self-sufficient,” Marcia said. Just like the name of her salon, Marcia describes Lum as truly amazing – an excellent mother and skilled business woman. No longer the shy young woman Marcia first met, Lum now feels empowered to advocate for herself and go after what she wants.

Lum and Min are now expecting the birth of their second child. They feel ready to grow their family and they want Bless to have a sibling companion in life. Lum says she now has the knowledge, thanks to Marcia, to be a confident mom.

When asked how her life has changed, Lum exclaimed, “I changed a lot. I know myself. I now feel comfortable with my life. Before I thought maybe I can’t get it. Now, I know I can get it and I did it!”

 


Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $20
    give
  • $22
    give
  • $37
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $252
    give
  • $408
    give
  • $3,000
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $22
    each month
    give
  • $37
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $252
    each month
    give
  • $408
    each month
    give
  • $3,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Nurse-Family Partnership

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Nurse-Family Partnership on GreatNonProfits.org.