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

 
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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!

Links:

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 

 

 

Links:

Nurse-Family Partnership begins to visit vulnerable, first-time moms during pregnancy - this is in order to work with the mom to have the healthiest pregnancy possible and to reduce the risks of preterm birth.

"Perhaps the most widespread peril children face isn't guns, swimming pools or speeding cars. Rather, scientists are suggesting that it may be "toxic stress" early in life, or even before birth." - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times Article, "This Poverty Solution Starts with a Hug" January 8, 2012.

Check out the link below for the full story - your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps to reduce the "toxic stress' in some of the highest risk families.

Links:

Isabel and her baby through their window
Isabel and her baby through their window

"There is a magic window of opportunity during pregnancy...it's a time when the desire to be a good mother - and raise a healthy, happy child - creates motivation to overcome incredible obstacles including poverty, instability or abuse with the help of a well-trained nurse."                    - David Olds, Ph.D., Founder, Nurse-Family Partnership

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership means that more and more families will be able to realize this 'magic window of opportunity' to improve their lives and the lives of their children.  Nurse-Family Partnership does this through improving 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; improving child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care; and improving the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education and find work.

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“I am constantly moved by families’ coping with hardship that would break most of us, and with the nurses’ passionate dedication and competence in supporting families,” wrote program founder, Dr. David Olds, now a professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and preventive medicine at University of Colorado, in an email.

This quote is from a great article by Fiona J. Kirk in The Daily (New York, NY) about how Nurse-Family Partnership helps to improve the lives of the families we serve.  The Nurse-Family Partnership now serves more than 23,000 families in 32 states. The median age of a participating mom is 19; only 51 percent have a high school degree and 88 percent are unmarried. The families’ median household income is $13,500. Because the nurses make home visits, they can offer in-depth emotional, physical and moral support to young women who might never have had a mentor.

Thank you for supporting Nurse-Family Partnership and helping impact the lives of so many!

Links:

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Project Leader

Michelle Stapleton

Denver, CO United States

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