The Kent County Health Department is expanding a program that supports first-time, low-income mothers.

Denver-based Nurse-Family Partnership’s primary focus is to help minority women improve skills in the areas of maternal and child physical health, education and employment, family and friend support, and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Since the county began providing NFP services nearly a decade ago, the home visitation program has shown “impressive results” in addressing infant mortality, said Teresa Branson, the county’s deputy administrative health officer, in a letter to the county’s board of commissioners.

In Kent County specifically, nurses have ensured that mothers receive prenatal care and have a safe sleep environment and that babies are up to date on vaccinations and receive regular medical care, according to Joann Hoganson, the county’s community nursing director.

Hoganson said the focus on employment is a unique aspect compared to other home visiting programs.

“We know that babies born and raised in poverty have greater health risks, and so Nurse-Family Partnership focuses in on helping those first-time moms to get back to school and finish their degree and get a job,” Hoganson said.

However, the program does not reach all the mothers who need assistance, she said.

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