Boynton Beach – Three programs of Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County that bring nurses or family support workers into pregnant women’s homes are having significant, positive impact on parents and babies, independent researchers told the Council’s board at its monthly meeting in June.
The three home-visitation programs — Healthy Families Florida, Nurse-Family Partnership and Healthy Beginnings Nurses/Prenatal Plus — offer at-risk women consistent help throughout their pregnancies (providing information, care and support) and their children's first few years of life, so they are ready for parenthood and their children grow up healthy, safe and strong.
Each program had a positive effect on participating families’ lives, compared to control group who did not participate in the programs, according to researchers from Metis Associates, a New York City-based research and consulting firm that conducted the four year study of the programs.
“The findings suggest CSC has made worthwhile investments in each of the three programs, providing high-quality, effective services for families,” the report concluded.
The study found:
- Healthy Families Florida, offered through Families First of Palm Beach County, had a significant impact on full-term births and babies being born at higher birth weights.
- Healthy Beginnings Nurses/Prenatal Plus, a program run by the Florida Department of Health - Palm Beach County, significantly impacted full-term births and birth weight, improved prenatal care and lowered the risk of a mother suffering from depression.
- Nurse-Family Partnership, a national program administered locally by the Florida Department of Health - Palm Beach County, had a lower percentage of premature births and higher proportions of children with current immunizations compared to the program’s overall numbers nationwide.
The three programs are part of the Healthy Beginnings system, a network of 29 programs funded by Children’s Services Council for pregnant women and families with young children.
In other business
Summer Learning Month: The Council proclaimed July as Summer Learning Month and July 13 as National Summer Learning Day. Summer learning is essential for children so they don’t fall behind their peers. This is often known as the "summer slide."
To combat summer learning loss, Children’s Services Council, the Palm Beach County School District and the 10 BRIDGES sites have developed a summer reading program that has engaged 971 parents in the last three years. The BRIDGES Summer Reading Program works directly with parents to provide them with at-home strategies to encourage reading and strengthen reading comprehension. Data show that last summer, 18 percent of the children whose families participated in the program improved their reading skills, while another 58 percent did not lose ground.
Children’s Services Council, a local special-purpose government created by Palm Beach County voters in 1986 and reauthorized in 2014, provides leadership, funding, services and research on behalf of the county’s children so they grow up healthy, safe and strong. To learn more, please visit www.cscpbc.org or contact Shana Cooper, public information officer, at 561.740.7000 ext. 2170.