A first-time mother and her nurse discuss the impact that the Nurse-Family partnership has had on their lives, but most importantly on the child's life.
Nurse-Family Partnership allows nurses to deliver the support first-time moms need to have a healthy pregnancy, become knowledgeable and responsible parents, and provide their babies with the best possible start in life. The program involves specially trained public health nurses who meet with low-income young women who are pregnant for the first time. All services are free and voluntary. Families are followed and supported using an intensive home visiting schedule starting during pregnancy and lasting until the first-born child reaches the age of 2 years old.
We modeled the program for first-time births to women with incomes of less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Nurse-Family Partnership exists in 43 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While there are many locations, the program is only available to a small fraction of the eligible mothers on a first come, first served basis due to budgetary and resource limitations in most locations.
Eligibility for the program is limited to first-time mothers before the 28th week of pregnancy who meet the high-risk requirement: low income, teenage mother, or unmarried. The family is visited routinely from the intake point during pregnancy through the child's second birthday by a nurse with at least a baccalaureate nursing degree who has received special training in the Nurse-Family Partnership protocols and guidelines. An individual nurse carries a case-load of no more than 25 families and is managed by a nurse supervisor who will work with no more than 8 individual nurses. These guidelines ensure that the families receive the high-quality, responsive care that they need to develop as a healthy family.
More information is available on the Nurse Family Partnership website.
To estimate the impact of a program or policy, we use systematic literature reviews to determine causal pathways and effect sizes. Well-researched interventions that have robust, high-quality evaluations allow us to model the impact of an intervention with greater certainty. However, sometimes interventions have limited evidence and not all of the outcomes that are likely to be associated with the intervention have been studied. In those cases, we can only model what is available in the evidence base. We urge future research to take the following gaps into consideration.
High School Graduation - The studies we used did not find enough evidence to support modeling out an impact on high school graduation rates, however it is our belief that the program likely increases graduation in some way, given the other reductions we observed in crime and Medicaid utilization.
Morbidities - The program likely also reduces morbidity among mothers and infants, however we did not find substantial evidence in the literature to model these outcomes.