Model Program: Intervening Early to Prevent Mental Health Problems
To improve pregnancy outcomes by helping mothers adopt healthy behavior, improve child health and development, reduce child abuse and neglect, and improve families' economic self-sufficiency.
A nurse visits the homes of high-risk women when pregnancy begins and continues for the first year of the child's life. The nurse adheres to visit-by-visit protocols to help women adopt healthy behaviors and to responsibly care for their children. In many states, Nurse-Family Partnership programs are funded as special projects or through State appropriations.
For mothers: 80% reduction in abuse of their children, 25% reduction in maternal substance abuse, and 83% increase in employment. For children (15 years later): 54% to 69% reduction in arrests and convictions, less risky behavior, and fewer school suspensions and destructive behaviors. This is the only prevention trial in the field with a randomized, controlled design and 15 years of follow-up. The program began in rural New York 20 years ago and its benefits have been replicated in Denver and in minority populations in Memphis.146-148
To preserve the program's core features as it grows nationwide. The key feature is a trained nurse, rather than a paraprofessional, who visits homes. A randomized, controlled trial found paraprofessionals to be ineffective.149
How other organizations can adopt
Modify requirements of Federal programs, where indicated, to facilitate adopting this successful, cost-effective model.
270 communities in 23 states.
For additional information: http://www.nccfc.org/nurseFamilyPartnership.cfm
More on NAMI.org