Helping First-time Parents Succeed
Background & Goal
Every year, more than 800,000 children are born first-time mothers living in poverty. Without intervention, these births all too often lead to a pattern that is destructive for both the mother and the child. The mother feels trapped in her situation and gives up on continuing her education or finding a good job. The child grows up without a role model to show a way out of poverty and in a culture that encourages repetition of the cycle.
Nurse-Family Partnership’s goal is to help parents in targeted communities give their children a better start by providing care in the home, via a registered nurse, from pregnancy through the child’s first two years of life – to improve pregnancy outcomes, child health and development, and the economic self-sufficiency of the family.
Nurse-Family Partnerships (NFP) is an evidence-based nurse home visitation program that improves the health, well-being and selfsufficiency of low-income, first-time parents and their children. Nurse home visitors and their clients make a 2 ½ year commitment to the program, with 14 visits planned during pregnancy, 28 during infancy and 22 during the toddler stage. Nurse home visitor case loads do not exceed 25 families, due to the high level of complexities and health risks of the families served.
Evidence of Success
- 79% reduction in preterm delivery for women who smoke; 35% fewer hypertensive disorders of pregnancy; and a decrease in smoking.
- 39% fewer injuries among children, including a 56% reduction in emergency visits for accidents and poisonings from birth to age 2, and a 32% reduction in emergency visits in the second year of life.
- The Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that the program had the highest return on investment among all home visiting and child welfare programs evaluated, with a net benefit to society of $17,180 (in 2003 dollars) per family served, which equates to a $2.88 return per dollar invested in NFP.
- For the higher-risk families now served by the program, a 2005 RAND Corporation analysis found a net benefit to society of $34,148 (in 2003 dollars) per family served, with the bulk of the savings accruing to government, which equates to a $5.70 return per dollar invested in NFP.
- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene projected the expected cost savings to the city per 100 families served by the program, based on the published programmatic outcomes. The estimates are based on the cost of services that would not be needed as NFP achieves its intended positive effects and include:
- 35 % reduction in pregnancy-induced hypertension: 3.5 fewer cases, saving $29,500;
- 50 % reduction in child abuse and neglect, 0-2 years: 2 fewer cases, saving $38,500;
- 35 % reduction in emergency room visits overall, 56 % reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings: 16.8 fewer visits, saving $11,584;
- 50 % decrease in language delays at 21 months: 8 fewer children, saving $133,000-$440,000.
In the News
"The Power of Nursing" by David Bornstein published in the New York Times May 16, 2012.