As a guest host for the Governor’s weekly message, filmed at Children & Families First, Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay discusses expansion of the Nurse-Family Partnership in Delaware and its positive impact on the children and families who participate in the program.
As a pediatrician, I know the most important time in a child’s development comes during the first two years of life. We now know that it truly starts with healthy women, healthy families, and healthy communities in order to best support babies. Very successful Division of Public Health home visiting programs recognize that fact. The Nurse-Family Partnership — run here by Children & Families First — brings visiting nurses into the homes of first-time, low-income mothers before the 28th week of pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. The nurses teach moms how to care for their newborns and answer all of the questions new mothers have – about nutrition, their baby’s progress, and much more. Nurses make as many as 75 total visits by the time a child turns two. The initiative is based on over 37 years of research and has found amazing results: a decrease in pre-term deliveries for women who smoke and nearly a 50% reduction in child abuse and neglect cases. The women are more likely to eat healthy, stop smoking, enroll in school, find work, and achieve better health outcomes for their children. In his State of the State address, Governor Markell called for more than doubling the number of first-time mothers served in our state – and we will do so thanks to $1.3M in additional state funding. Earlier this month, Delaware received another boost, sharing in a million-dollar federal grant to sustain the program’s reach. For more information on the program, dial 2-1-1 for Help Me Grow. From all of us at Public Health — and on behalf of Governor Markell and Lt. Governor Matt Denn – our commitment is simple: We will continue to work toward building healthier women and families as we keep Delaware moving forward.
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