Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a national evidence based, home-visiting program with deep roots in Pennsylvania. It is dedicated to supporting women and teens to promote healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes, improve children’s health and development and families’ economic self-sufficiency.

The Delaware County NFP program receives grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Over the last thirteen years, it has served close to 1,000 pregnant women, and their families in Delaware County.

How the program works

NFP moms get their own free personal nurse who make regular home visits from early in pregnancy until the baby is two years old.

Nurses pay close attention to the physical and mental health of the mother and ensure that all of her basic needs are being met. Mom is the expert on her life and her child. The nurse is there to provide up-to-date health and wellness information and support mom in making healthy choices. The nurse also educates their clients about pregnancy and parenting and tailor visits to meet mom’s needs. After the baby is born, nurses continue to support and educate parents on their baby’s health and development, attachment and bonding and positive parenting. The nurses also work with moms to set goals for economic self-sufficiency by encouraging them to develop a vision for their future, continue their education or find work.

Research shows that the transformational relationship that develops over the two years between the nurse and the mother helps boost the mother’s confidence, improves birth outcomes and helps to break the cycle of poverty. To learn more please view the national NFP video.

Families participating in NFP have access to the Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) attorneys if civil legal needs arise and Moving Beyond Depression for eligible women diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

In 2018, NFP received a grant from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to extend NFP services to women with Opioid Use Disorder/Substance Use Disorder (OUD/SUD). The program offers regular Parent Cafés for parents impacted in some way by substance use disorder. Parent Cafes are safe spaces to come together to share and support one another with structure and focus on five protective factors. Families do not have to be participants in the NFP program to attend. For information about our next Parent Café series and/or to register to participate, please reach out to Ashlyn Wittman for more information.

The results

In Pennsylvania, NFP has a presence in 49 of the state’s 67 counties, and has provided assistance to more than 35,000 families, which is more than in any other state. Nationally, the program is helping families in 42 states.

The program is widely adopted because it works. In at least one of NFP’s randomized research trials, the following results have been observed:

  • 48 percent reduction in child abuse and neglect;
  • 56 percent reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings;
  • 67 percent reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems by age 6.

NFP also saves money. A study by the RAND Corporation found that $5.70 is returned to a community for every dollar it invests in the program.

The program is a success story in the county, and as it continues to grow, proponents say it will play a critical role in preventing infant deaths and preterm births, as well as reducing domestic violence and youth crime typically associated with poverty.

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