Program to Aid Young Mothers

posted Jan 10, 2013, 9:03 AM by News & Citizen

by Andrew Martin 

   Young women going through their first pregnancies in Lamoille and Franklin Counties now have another tool at their disposal. The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program, which aims at helping low-income mothers reach their goals and improve the lives of their families, is now in its sixth month of existence and is already helping a number of young women locally. 

“The Franklin/Lamoille Nurse Family Partnership is meeting national standards for referrals and enrollments,” commented Rhonda Desrochers of the Franklin County Home Health Agency, “We are well on our way to a full caseload as we have 15 clients enrolled since our launch in July and we are proud to announce the delivery of three healthy babies thus far. We have been very successful thanks to an evidence-based program and the support of our community partners.”

The NFP program is centered on the goals of improving the outcomes of pregnancies, improving the health and development of children associated with the program, and to help young mothers continue to develop their own lives and keep them on track. 

The program works to accomplish these goals in a number of ways. The main way is that a registered nurse begins visiting the first-time mother as early in the pregnancy as possible and continues to do so through the birth until the child is two years old. The nurse visits with the family every one to two weeks and provides support and education. Major emphasis is placed on helping the young mother or family in ways that they want to be helped, but basic services provided often include checking blood pressure and weight, explaining or checking normal pregnancy discomforts and complications, and educating the mother on different areas she is curious about. 

Along with the home visits by the nurse the NFP program also seeks to help young mothers or families obtain prenatal care, reduce their use of alcohol and tobacco, and learn more about healthy nutrition. After the birth of the child the program seeks to help the parents provide more competent and knowledgeable care and a safe home while also seeking to help them find a primary care physician for the child. The program also seeks to help the young mothers continue their own lives in areas such as education, environment, employment, and planning future pregnancies. 

Federal funding for the NFP program is provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration. At the current time there is one visiting nurse in the program with the plan to add another registered nurse sometime in the near future. Each nurse can carry a caseload of 25 clients, meaning that when the second nurse is added the NFP program can be aiding up to 50 young mothers and families in Lamoille and Franklin County. 

Anyone wishing to learn more about the Franklin-Lamoille NFP program can do so by contacting Rhonda Desrochers at 1-802-393-6775 or at Young mothers interested in joining the program can learn how to do so by calling the number 888-4651 in Lamoille County or 527-7531 in Franklin County. Individuals eligible for the program are women who are pregnant with their first child, are under 28 weeks of gestation, and are considered low-income.