Improve lives of at-risk moms & babies in the USA

 
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Baby Aaron Smiling
Baby Aaron Smiling

"When it came time to have the baby, Shirita was alone. Her mother was at the casino, her sister was not answering her cellphone, her boyfriend had disappeared months earlier, and her father she had not seen in years."

This is the opening paragraph from the March 8, 2015 New York Times Article, "Visiting Nurses, Helping Mothers on the Margins" by Sabrina Tavernise.  You can read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/health/program-that-helps-new-mothers-learn-to-be-parents-faces-broader-test.html?smid=nytcore-iphone-share&smprod=nytcore-iphone&_r=2

Nurse-Family Partnership works with families to improve birth outcomes, the child's health and development and the economic self-sufficiency of families.

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps vulnerable new moms give their babies the best possible start in life - and we thank you! 

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Your support helps to change the lives of families - the Nurse-Family Partnership nurses work with these families and really get a chance to see the imact.  Here's a little bit about one of our NFP nurses, Christina:

When I started as an Nurse-Family Partnership nurse home visitor and saw the scientific results in the training materials, I thought, "Okay, it looks good; but I'll believe it when I see it." Now that I've been part of the program for seven years, I know it works. I love this job. I wouldn't ever want to do anything else.

Yes, it's a hard job. But we love it because we know it's a valuable one. We don't take lightly the fact that we're working directly with people's lives. We know we have a hand in the future.

One of my moms, Charque, went into preterm labor while her boyfriend was in juvenile detention. But she's doing well now. She graduated high school; she's working and thinking about college.

But other situations are much tougher. I had one client I visited for two years, and I'll tell you, I had to physically and mentally prepare myself every time I went into her home. I just never knew what I was going to see. This young woman had fundamental physical and mental health issues, she didn't have a job, her husband worked at a donut shop, and her parents were both dead. She had no health insurance, she was smoking, the fridge was always empty, the house was a mess with toys everywhere, and she was spending all her money on toys for the baby.

But as bad as it was, I truly believe if I weren't visiting her, it would've been worse. I got her to quit smoking; I got her on a food stamp program and hooked up with a living skills specialist.

A lot of the young women I see come from homes that are really rough. Some have no positive male role models, so the first guy who comes along and shows them any attention, they think it's love, and the next thing you know, they're pregnant. They don't have anyone to talk to, and people are telling them "you ruined your life."

Well, I'm someone she can talk to. She knows I'm not judgmental; I just listen to what she has to say and try not to tell her what I would do. Of course it can be frustrating – they need to come to decisions on their own, and we back them up, whatever they decide.

You know, we not only help young girls, we're also helping their children. I run into my moms whose babies are now in kindergarten, and they tell me, "Oh, he's reading the books you brought me!" Then I know that, because they enjoy reading, they'll enjoy school – and that means they'll go further in life.

Your support makes these relationships possible and helps to change the lives of families - thank you!


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Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership is being recognized as helping to beat poverty!

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn recognized Nurse-Family Partnership® as an effective solution in their column, "The Way to Beat Poverty" in The New York Times column on Sunday, Sept. 14.

They emphasize the power of parenting and intervening early, with evidence-based programs like Nurse-Family Partnership, to break the cycle of poverty.

Nurse-Family Partnership supports first-time moms living in poverty by providing each mom with a registered nurse who provides her with home visits throughout pregnancy until her child’s second birthday.

“The visits have been studied extensively through randomized controlled trials — the gold standard of evidence — and are stunningly effective. Children randomly assigned to nurse visits suffer 79 percent fewer cases of state-verified abuse or neglect than similar children randomly assigned to other programs. Even though the program ends at age 2, the children at age 15 have fewer than half as many arrests on average. At the 15-year follow-up, the mothers themselves have one-third fewer subsequent births and have spent 30 fewer months on welfare than the controls. A RAND Corporation study found that each dollar invested in nurse visits to low-income unmarried mothers produced $5.70 in benefits,” wrote Kristof and WuDunn.

Nurse-Family Partnership, they affirm, “…is an antipoverty program that is cheap, is backed by rigorous evidence and pays for itself several times over in reduced costs later on. Yet it has funds to serve only 2 percent to 3 percent of needy families. That’s infuriating."

They recommend supporting Nurse-Family Partnership to "give at-risk kids a shot at reaching the starting line." 

Thank you for your interest in Nurse-Family Partnership!

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One of the unique things about supporting Nurse-Family Partnership is that because of the research behind the program you can be sure that your support really empowers first-time moms to change their lives and the lives of their children.  Just this week, new research is out about one of the initial research trials of Nurse-Family Partnership, read the press release here:

JAMA Pediatrics Reports Nurse-Family Partnership Reduces Preventable
Death Among Mothers and Children

 MEMPHIS, TENN. (July 8, 2014) — A study published by JAMA Pediatrics – a leading, peer-reviewed
journal of the American Medical Association – found that Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) reduces
preventable death among both low-income mothers and their first-born children living in disadvantaged,
urban neighborhoods. This is the first randomized, clinical trial of an early intervention program
conducted in a high-income country to find evidence of reductions in maternal and child death.

“Death among mothers and children in these age ranges in the United States general population is rare, but
of enormous consequence. The high rates of death among mothers and children not receiving nurse-home
visits reflect the toxic conditions faced by too many low-income parents and children in our society. The
lower mortality rate found among nurse-visited mothers and children likely reflects the nurses’ support of
mothers’ basic human drives to protect their children and themselves,” said David Olds, Ph.D., professor
of pediatrics at the University of Colorado and lead investigator on the study.

Beginning in 1990, this trial enrolled low-income, primarily African-American mothers living in
disadvantaged neighborhoods in Memphis, Tenn., and assessed maternal and child mortality for over two
decades until 2011. Olds announced today these findings at a press conference held at Le Bonheur
Children’s Hospital, which serves families through NFP in Memphis.

Nurse-Family Partnership produced a significant reduction in preventable child death from birth until age
20. Children in the control group not receiving nurse-home visits had a mortality rate of 1.6% for
preventable causes – including sudden infant death syndrome, unintentional injuries and homicide. There
were zero preventable deaths among nurse-visited children.

In addition, over the same two-decade period, mothers who received nurse-home visits had significantly
lower rates of death for all causes compared to mothers not receiving nurse-home visits. Mothers in the “Death among mothers and children in these age ranges in the United States general population is rare, but
of enormous consequence. The high rates of death among mothers and children not receiving nurse-home
visits reflect the toxic conditions faced by too many low-income parents and children in our society. The
lower mortality rate found among nurse-visited mothers and children likely reflects the nurses’ support of
mothers’ basic human drives to protect their children and themselves,” said David Olds, Ph.D., professor
of pediatrics at the University of Colorado and lead investigator on the study.

Beginning in 1990, this trial enrolled low-income, primarily African-American mothers living in
disadvantaged neighborhoods in Memphis, Tenn., and assessed maternal and child mortality for over two
decades until 2011. Olds announced today these findings at a press conference held at Le Bonheur
Children’s Hospital, which serves families through NFP in Memphis.

Nurse-Family Partnership produced a significant reduction in preventable child death from birth until age
20. Children in the control group not receiving nurse-home visits had a mortality rate of 1.6% for
preventable causes – including sudden infant death syndrome, unintentional injuries and homicide. There
were zero preventable deaths among nurse-visited children.

In addition, over the same two-decade period, mothers who received nurse-home visits had significantly
lower rates of death for all causes compared to mothers not receiving nurse-home visits. Mothers in the control group who did not receive nurse-home visits were nearly three times more likely to die than were
nurse-visited mothers. The relative reduction in maternal mortality was even greater for deaths due to
external causes – those tied to maternal behaviors and environmental conditions – including unintentional
injuries, suicide, drug overdose and homicide. Mothers not receiving nurse-home visits were eight times
more likely to die of these causes than nurse-visited mothers.

“We intend to continue this research to see whether Nurse-Family Partnership reduces premature
mortality at later ages and corresponding health problems as the mothers and children grow older,” said
Olds.

Earlier follow-up studies of the Memphis trial found that nurse-visited mothers, compared to those
assigned to the control group, had better prenatal health and behavior; reduced rates of closely-spaced
subsequent pregnancies; decreased use of welfare, Medicaid and food stamps; fewer behavioral
impairments due to substance use; and fewer parenting attitudes that predispose them to abuse their
children. At earlier phases of follow-up, nurse-visited children,compared to children not receiving nurse-home visits, were less likely to be hospitalized for injuries through age two; less likely to have behavioral problems at school entry; and less likely to reveal depression, anxiety and substance use at age 12.

Your continued support of Nurse-Family Partnership ensures that these results can be realized by thousands of moms and babies across the United States.  

Brady and her daughter, Ginevieve
Brady and her daughter, Ginevieve

Nurse-Family Partnership moms come from many different backgrounds and experiences;  here is the story of one mom's success - Brady. Hers is a strong, clear voice with an energy that young people seem to have when their future is undeniably bright. To talk with Brady today, you’d never know it wasn’t always that way.

“I was in a low point,” she confides. A low point just before she met the young man who would quickly become the father of her child. Her first marriage had ended in less than a year, due to domestic abuse. The divorce was followed by job loss, and the need to move in with her grandmother for a while. But Brady began to pull herself up.

“I got a new job waitressing and moved in with a colleague who introduced me to Sean,” she said. “I tell people that he and I shook hands and we were pregnant!” she laughs, in hindsight. But at the time, it wasn’t something to laugh about.
“We were doing…not great,” said Brady. The timing could not have been worse for starting a family, as the Great Recession had begun and job layoffs were prevalent, especially in construction, where Sean worked. He had moved back in with his parents.
“We both had messed up personal lives,” said Brady. On top of that, neither one knew anything about babies, yet these almost strangers were going to soon become parents together.
Brady did know enough to seek out prenatal healthcare at a clinic in Shreveport, where a nurse referred her to Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). “I thought it was an automatic that everyone signed up,” she remembers. “So I did.”
That was the start of her two-and-a-half year journey with two nurses who became her sounding boards, her support and her friends. Her first NFP nurse home visitor was Nancy, who helped her through her pregnancy and when her daughter was born.
July 15 marked six years since Ginevieve was born and was named after Brady’s grandmother, who was born on the same day 81 years earlier. She was perfect.
The young family, however, was struggling. “We didn’t know each other very well and I wasn’t very good about knowing how to talk our way to compromise,” said Brady. “I spent the time trying to fix everything, do everything. I think I changed all the diapers for the first two years.”
Brady was feeling the stress of the relationship and baby. On top of that, she felt criticized. “A lot of what I heard when Ginevieve was very young was how I was doing everything wrong.”
What often kept her going was Nancy and Wendi, the nurse supervisor who took over when Nancy left her job mid-way through Brady’s time in the program.
“Nancy and Wendi were there to have an adult conversation with me and care about me,” said Brady. “I didn’t have any of that. No one else was telling me I was doing a good job, but to hear from an actual nurse, validating me…I felt like a success because of that.”
Give credit to Brady, says Wendi. “She was hungry for knowledge.”
The nurse-client mom relationship is a trusted one. Nurse-Family Partnership tries to keep the same nurse with a mom throughout the program, but it isn’t always possible because of moves and job changes.

When Nancy left NFP, Wendi knew that there was a chance that Brady would not connect with her as the new nurse.
“But she took it in stride and really welcomed me with open arms,” said Wendi. “I felt like after our very first visit, I had known her a long time.”
Wendi also knew that this young woman, who was dealing with instability in her relationship, her housing situation and her job, was someone who had a great deal of strength.

“I was enchanted by Brady,” said Wendi. “She was one of the very few moms that I’ve known who was still breastfeeding at 18 months. It told me she had a lot of perseverance and heart.”
Brady had learned from Nancy just how important breastfeeding is to a baby’s health and development, and Wendi reinforced that. Brady embraced that knowledge, breastfeeding Ginevieve past the age of two. Today she believes it has made a difference to both her child and herself.
“It’s one of my proudest things,” said Brady. “It is invaluable. Ginevieve is so smart. And we are so close, because breastfeeding is not only about breastfeeding, it’s about closeness.”

Ginevieve is now an artistic little girl who reads well and is ready to start first grade in the fall of 2013. She also is one of only two children in her kindergarten class this year who were invited to test for Louisiana’s Gateway accelerated program next year.

Her mom is understandably proud, and so is her former nurse, who recently saw both Brady and Ginevieve more than three years after their “official” relationship ended. “Ginevieve was thriving,” said Wendi. “Very smart; she had a big vocabulary. Not to mention that she is preciously cute!”

Wendi is also quick to compliment her former client, who is employed as a WIC breastfeeding peer counselor. “If ever there was a role model for breastfeeding moms, Brady has a market on that!"  It is a job she adores. “I love working with moms to give back what I was given,” said Brady

Does she see just a little bit of herself in some of the young women she now helps? “Absolutely,” Brady said. “Too many women don’t have support. I didn’t.” To pay it forward just a little more, she often refers her clients, when appropriate, to Nurse-Family Partnership.

Today, Brady and Sean are no longer a couple, but they continue to raise Ginevieve together. Despite their difficult start, Brady is quick to praise. “He’s a great dad,” she said. “We made it work; we raised our daughter together for six years.”

And, thanks in part to two strong role models, Brady found her own voice that seemed to be at risk of being lost in that early rush of pregnancy, relationship and motherhood. “Everyone needs support, and for me that was NFP.”

Brady has a child who is thriving; she has a meaningful job that she loves. And, she is earning her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She knows that NFP made a significant difference in her life, and she knows she now loves working with moms and babies herself.

As for her future? “Wherever the Lord puts me and wherever I’ll be most effective is where I’ll go.”

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps moms just like Brady to find their voice and to be able to advocate for themselves and their children.  Thank you!

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Project Leader

Michelle Stapleton

Denver, CO United States

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