Nurses, impacted families meet with Costello

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Congressman Ryan Costello meets with families who are participating in the Chester County Nurse-Family Partnership Program. From left to right: Gina Martinez with her nine month old son Isah; Dale and Deja Joseph with their seven month old daughter Aria; and Congressman Costello.

WEST CHESTER — Two Chester County families and nurses and staff from the Chester County Health Department met with Congressman Ryan Costello recently to share stories, updates and benefits of the County’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program. NFP is a community health program that partners registered nurses with first-time vulnerable mothers early in pregnancy and continues until the child is two years old.

Since it began in Chester County 16 years ago, the NFP program has transformed the lives of over 1,000 vulnerable mothers who are pregnant with their first child.

“The NFP program doesn’t just benefit mothers and babies, it greatly impacts extended families and the whole community,” said Jeanne Casner, Director of the Chester County Health Department.  “Both here in Chester County and nationally, NFP data shows that through the relationship with nurses, pre-term deliveries are reduced, more mothers are breastfeeding, and NFP children are more likely to be up-to-date on immunizations.”

Pat Yoder, Maternal-Child Health Supervisor at the Chester County Health Department noted:  “The short term positive health outcomes like breastfeeding and prevention of preterm births are great, but research has also shown that in the longer term, the NFP program improves the life choices and parenting skills of the mothers, and creates stronger social and emotional development and academic gains in the children.

“But as the name implies, NFP truly is a partnership between the nurse and the family, who work together from pregnancy through to the child’s second birthday to develop the skills that will help the mother to continue to make a positive difference for the remainder of her son or daughter’s childhood,” adds Yoder.

This week’s meeting with Congressman Costello is part of National NFP Site Visit Week and comes at a time when the federal Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting program is up for renewal, which provides valuable funding for NPF programs.

Costello said: “Nurses partnering with young moms through the Nurse-Family Partnership program has proven to be very effective in improving health outcomes for newborn babies. In Congress, efforts to provide for resources for this program, including through the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visits program, are fundamental to the success and longevity of assisting and supporting young families during these critical stages of development.

“I appreciated hearing from several new moms on how much of a positive impact it has been for them, and from several NFP nurses and administrators on how their evidence-based approach is constantly improving the program.”

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