Kelly Berk RN, BSN, MPH
Maternal Child Health Initiatives
The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a community health program that helps transform the lives of women who are pregnant with their first child. Each mother we serve is partnered with a registered nurse (RN) early in her pregnancy and receives ongoing nurse home visits throughout pregnancy that continue through her child's second birthday. Nurse-Family Partnership is a unique, evidence-based community health program that is founded on the pioneering work for Dr. David Olds, professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and preventive medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.
What We Do
The NFP focuses on low-income, first-time pregnant women. Registered nurses work with the mothers-to-be during pregnancy to promote and teach positive health and attachment behaviors between a mother and her baby. Nurses are trusted and respected professionals who are able to foster a powerful bond with the mother. The relationship of trust makes a measurable difference for the whole family.
Nurse-Family Partnership encourages fathers, family members and even friends to be involved in the visits and learn how they can best support new mothers.
Nurses visit families for two-and-a-half years, beginning in early pregnancy and continuing until babies are two years old. The program emphasizes changing behavior and its impact is felt for generations, with communities as a whole growing stronger because of NFP’s commitment to the moms and their babies.
When We Started
The Nurse-Family Partnership came to the Lehigh Valley in 2001. We have served over 1600 families since our inception and currently serve 250 families in Lehigh and Northampton counties. The NFP model allows us to serve women that are at or below 235% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The program collaborates with health networks, schools, churches, government programs and the community at large to provide services to those most in need. NFP is supported by a state grant, Medical Assistance (MA) dollars and matching funds from the local community to provide free, and voluntary, services.
The goals of the Nurse-Family Partnership are to:
- Improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices, including thorough prenatal care from their health care providers, improving their diets, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal substances.
- Improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care.
- Improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education and find work.
How the Nurse Will Help Me
My nurse will help me:
- Have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
- Become a better parent.
- Build a strong network of support for me and my baby.
- Make my home a safe place for my baby to live and play.
- Get referrals for healthcare, childcare, job training and other support services available in my community.
- Find ways to continue my education and develop job skills.
- Set goals for my family’s future and find ways to help me reach them.
Who Can Participate
Any woman who is pregnant with her first child, meets income requirements and lives in the service area is encouraged to enroll by the 16th week of pregnancy.
Because the mother is the one who carries the baby and is the first person to take care of their baby, they are the ones actually enrolled in the program and are the main focus of the nurse. The expectant mother decides who attends visits.