The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 8, 2013

New program brings support to first-time mothers

CLINTON — New mothers will have continued support to bring healthy children into the world through a new county program. At-risk women can enjoy long-term family improvements in health, education, and economic self-sufficiency through the Nurse-Family Partnership program.

“This program makes the family more cohesive by providing help with parenting, sustainability, education and beyond,” Genesis VNA and Hospice Community Health Supervisor Michele Cullen said. “It’s a great opportunity for Clinton and Scott counties. We see this as a great resource for our community.”

The partnership is part of an evidence-based federal program designed to help transform the lives of vulnerable mothers pregnant with their first child. Each mother served by NFP is partnered with a registered nurse early in her pregnancy and receives ongoing nurse home visits that continue through her child’s second birthday.

These home visits offer low-income, first-time moms the care and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy, provide responsible and competent care for their children, and become more economically self-sufficient, according to the Nurse-Family Partnership web site.

While the program will help first-time mothers of all ages, the issue of teen pregnancies is prevalent in Clinton County. In the 2012 County Health Rankings, the county had one of the highest teen birth rates with 44 per 1,000 females ages 15-19, high above the state rate of 33 and the national benchmark of 22. Only 10 of the 99 counties in Iowa reported rates above 44.

The county also ranks 14th in teen birth rate among all counties in Iowa and sixth among Iowa’s 29 counties with populations from 20,000-100,000 people, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

 Cullen has spearheaded the partnership for Clinton and Scott counties that is set to begin in late March. The county currently has a maternal health program that addresses teen mothers still in school. This partnership will offer a more in-depth and personalized approach for first-time mothers through a continuation of home visits.

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