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

Apr 11, 2013

There is a reason why we use nurses in our program

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership makes a difference in the lives of vulnerable families - but what about the nurses who deliver the program to these families - what do they think about Nurse-Family Partnership and their role?

Rosalyn McCollum-Benoit is a nurse home visitor for Nurse-Family Partnership at the Baylor College of Medicine Teen Health Clinic; she has been visitong low-income, first-time moms and their babies since 2008.

“It has been the most rewarding career opportunity that I have had in my 18 years of nursing,” said Benoit, who has a bachelor of science in nursing as well as an M.B.A. “The Nurse Family Partnership not only allows you to impact the lives of new moms and their families but you are also given the opportunity to assist in creating the foundation of their parenting.”

“Typically patient education for new mothers is about 10 minutes in the physician’s office or prior to hospital discharge,” she continued. “But the Nurse Family Partnership NFP allows you over two years to effectively elevate the outcomes of your teaching.”

Public health nurses are the backbone of Nurse-Family Partnership's success. Since the program’s beginning, nurses have been instrumental in shaping and delivering this evidence-based, community health program. Because of their specialized knowledge, the public health nurses who deliver the Nurse-Family Partnership program in their communities establish trusted relationships with young, at-risk mothers during home visits, providing guidance for the emotional, social, and physical challenges these first-time moms face as they prepare to become parents. But most importantly, Nurse-Family Partnership Nurse Home Visitors make a measurable, long-lasting difference in the lives of their clients.

“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.” – Christina Baker Nurse-Family Partnership Nurse Home Visitor.

Thank you for your role in getting these nurses into more homes of vulnerable families!


Jan 9, 2013

Using Data to Solve the World's Problems

While 90% of individual donors say that nonprofit performance is important when choosing to allocate funds, only
30% actually research to find the most effective nonprofit when giving money, according to a survey by GuideStar and Hope Consulting.  Read more in the attached article from, ‘How Nonprofits Can Use Data to Solve the World’s Problems’ by Victor Luckerson. 

This article also describes how Nurse-Family Partnership uses the data our nurses collect to make the program better for their communities and the families they serve.  Your support has helped Nurse-Family Partnership better support more and more families across the United States through delivering a proven and effective program as well as  one that is informed by the data.

Nurse-Family Partnership could not be as strong without your support and advocacy of our program; as Victor Luckerson writes in the attached article, ‘Though Nurse-Family Partnerships is decades old, their sophisticated, data-focused model seems poised to become the standard for how a non-profit should operate in the 21st century.’


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!”



Jun 28, 2012

The Power of Nursing

In May the New York Times carried an article by David Bornstein called the 'Power of Nursing' - here's how it begins:

"In 2010, 5.9 million children were reported as abused or neglected in the United States.  If you were a policy maker and you knew a program that could cut this figure in half, what would you do?  What if you could reduce the number of babies or toddlers hospitalized for accidents or poisonings by more than half? Or provide a 5 to 7 point IQ boost to children born to the most vulnerable mothers?

Well there is a way.  These and other striking results have been documented in studies of a program called the Nurse-Family Partnership, or NFP, which arranges for registered nurses to make regular home visits to first-time low-income or vulnerable mothers, starting early in their pregnancies and continuing until the child is 2."

Nurse-Family Partnership is grateful for coverage and advocacy such as this.  Our success in gaining more champions across the country is due, at least in part, to all of you who have supported Nurse-Family Partnership and we greatly appreciate your support and hope you will continue to learn about, talk about and support NFP.

We hope you have a happy and safe summer!


Apr 9, 2012

Changing Lives - One Family at a Time

Crystal, Torrian and Kelvin
Crystal, Torrian and Kelvin

   Nurse-Family Partnership empowers thousands of low-income, first-time families to create better lives for their babies and themselves.  Your support helps make this happen!  Following is just one of the many success stories demonstrating the power of Nurse-Family Partnership. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A family photo of Crystal, her boyfriend Kelvin and their son Torrian is worth so much more. The picture shows a smiling Crystal gazing up proudly at baby Torrian, who is being lifted into the sky by Kelvin, his dad. Torri, as they call him, is looking directly into the camera, smiling brightly, with a blur of trees, grass and sunlight behind him.   




 The high school nurse gives Crystal a pregnancy test, which turns out positive. She immediately refers Crystal to her colleague Debbie Dulaney, a registered nurse and a veteran with the State of Louisiana Office of Public  




Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program. Debbie sets up her first meeting with Crystal and drives to where Crystal is living in cramped quarters with her aunt, uncle and their children. She knocks on the door and is greeted by a teenage girl who emanates warmth. “I’m Crystal,” she says with a wide open smile, adding “and you’re prompt!” Immediately, Debbie can see this young woman is unique. In her experience, most pregnant teenagers aren’t very concerned with promptness. The two women bond quickly. While telling Debbie her story, Crystal reveals that she discovered her pregnancy exactly one month after her mother passed away. “I’m an only child by my mom,” says Crystal. “When I lost her, it was like I lost a part of myself.” Debbie confides that she lost her mother at a young age, too. “I understand what you’re going through,” Debbie replies gently. “But it will make you a stronger person. Once you get through the first year without her—through Christmas, your birthday—everything is going to get easier.”





Each time Crystal and Debbie meet, weekly at first and  then bi-weekly as Crystal’s due date approaches, their bond grows stronger. Crystal may be just a growing teenager, but she is a enthusiastic client. She is eager to learn about what foods to eat, how best to sleep with her growing belly and how to build an emotional attachment with the baby. Kelvin attends most of the meetings as well. A high school dropout, he is determined to be a good father and provide his son with every opportunity.

 In October, Crystal gives birth to Torrian and it is no surprise to Debbie that Crystal and Kelvin take quickly to their roles as parents. Crystal remains in high school while Kelvin takes care of the baby during the day. Thanks to Debbie’s guidance, they have learned how to put the baby on a schedule and provide a healthy environment— Crystal allows no smoking in the house and she checks all of Torrian’s toys for hazards like chipping paint. By the following May, Crystal and Kelvin have been in the NFP program for a full year, and they are models of the  program’s success.

 Despite this accomplishment, life remains challenging  for teenage parents with minimal family support and very little income. Despite this accomplishment, life remains challenging for teenage parents with minimal family support and very little income. In the fall, the family faces yet another crossroad when Crystal decides to enroll in college at Louisiana Tech. This requires a move to Ruston, Louisiana, about 70 miles west of Delhi. Not only will the young family have to find the resources to move, they will  also have to build a new life in a place where they have no relatives or friends to rely on.




Debbie is still prepared to help, because helping clients set life goals in areas like education and career are part of the NFP model. She assists the couple in planning 

the move and, when Crystal and Kelvin express concern about making appropriate friends in Ruston, Debbie even gives them some entertaining tips. She brings over a few decks of cards and teaches them how to play group games like Liverpool Rummy. Finally, she reaches out to a colleague in Ruston, Debbie Nash, who will take over as the nurse home visitor after the move. It’s a natural fit; the two nurses are already part of an NFP team that meets weekly for case conferences, so the “new Debbie” is familiar with Crystal’s story.


apartment. Although it is over two miles from the Louisiana Tech campus and Crystal will have to walk both ways, they are thrilled that Torrian now has his own bedroom. It’s adorable—a little junior bed, a round table with two chairs—all decorated in brilliant red, yellow and blue. On her second visit, Debbie brings her camera and Torrian poses for her in his new bedroom. He perches on his bed with a huge smile, holding up an index finger to show that he is one.


pulls out a little book she has made for her son. Even though she is walking back and forth to school, attending classes and doing homework for her double major in psychology and journalism, she has made time to create a homemade alphabet book for Torrian. “I’m smart,” says Crystal proudly, “and I want my son to be smart, too.”

When Torrian reaches his second birthday, marking the completion of the NFP program, Debbie Nash is 

on leave recovering from shoulder surgery. This means that Debbie Dulaney will be reunited with the couple to complete their last session. Even after months without seeing his original NFP nurse, Torrian runs up to her immediately. The adults reminisce, play with Torrian, laugh and talk, and cry when it’s time to say goodbye.


Debbie Dulaney drives away with a feeling of tremendous joy, knowing that Crystal and Kelvin have taken advantage of every opportunity provided by the Nurse-Family Partnership, beating incredible odds and 

accomplishing so much. Inside the apartment, Crystal sits on the couch, flipping through the pages of her favorite




 In their first meeting with Debbie Nash, Crystal and Kelvin are incredibly proud to show off their new two bedroom


 When Torrian is 21 months old, Debbie administers a language screening and finds that Torrian is well above average. When Debbie expresses her admiration, Crystal 




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Michelle Stapleton

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