Caring 4 Your Family: Nurse-Family Partnership (ABC 4 Utah)

By Emily Clark

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) The joy of motherhood is an exciting addition to any family but it can also be intimidating. For low-income families in Salt lake County, they are getting one-on-one help to best take care of their families.

New low-income mothers across Salt Lake County are getting help as they start their new adventure with the county’sNurse Family Partnership.

Salt Lake County nurse Linda Wilkins explained, “We enroll women who are pregnant with their first baby before their 29th week.”

Linda has been meeting with Spring Malone since she was pregnant and will continue to do so until her son KJ turns two. Each visit comes with it an individualized lesson helping prepare Spring for her new job as Mom.

Spring is just one example of the great work this Salt Lake County program is doing every day as they go into homes and help low-income moms be better mothers.

Dr. Audrey Stevenson from the Salt Lake County Health explained, “This program is especially effective in teaching parenting skills that really benefit that mother and that child that will help them throughout their lifetime.”

The Nurse Family Partnership has been in the county for five years now and used across the country in different locations for 30 years. Dr. Stevenson has seen first hand that it does make a difference. She explained, “This program definitely breaks the cycle of poverty.”

Getting into a home to teach and assess the needs literally invests in the future. Studies have shown communities who use a program like this will see dramatic savings down the road.

Dr. Stevenson said, “The studies show that for every dollar you invest in this program, you see a savings of five to seven dollars.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said, “The failure of our family structures and the failure of communities will be something we have to pay for whether kids are in jail or GED programs, so Government is going to pay for failure. We think, why not pay for success and invest in our community now.”

Mayor McAdams sees the Nurse Family Partnership as a necessary investment.

Mayor McAdams said, “The program is having a very real impact on children in our community, changing their futurefrom bleak to bright.”

Not only does the Nurse Family Partnership give the new Mom assistance to meet current goals in her life like school, employment or better health; but they are also setting a new standard for the future of the family.

Mayor McAdams explained, “Anything we can do to really stop a problem before it starts, is worth investing in. We have so many current issues on our plate right now, but we need to take a minute and think about the future, especially about our kids."

The idea of investing now for a big return later like what we see in the the Nurse Family Partnership is something the mayor is trying to use in other avenues of the county. 

He is about to propose the new pay for success initiative to help fund programs. The idea is simple. Get donations to pay the bill now and if a program works, the county pays back the donation. If it doesn't work, the county doesn't lose a thing. We will keep you posted on pay for success. 

If you would like to enroll in the Nurse-Family partnership click here