Detroit Pilot Project Will Help First-Time Parents Succeed

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm awarded a grant to the city of Detroit today designed to reverse unacceptable health, education, and social development disparities for many at-risk children and families in Michigan.

Detroit will receive $386,500 to implement the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), a nationally recognized program designed to improve health during pregnancy, promote healthy child development, and promote positive parental life courses.

A second $360,000 grant was given in October to the Berrien County Health Department to establish a more stable funding source and continue similar services in Benton Harbor/Benton Township.

“Based on the positive long-term impact this program has had throughout the country, funding Nurse Family Partnership pilot projects represent an investment in our future,” Granholm said. “We are pleased to partner with the City of Detroit and the Berrien County Health Departments to bring this prevention-oriented program to at-risk families in Michigan. It will provide another resource to improve health, education, and social outcomes among our most vulnerable citizens.”

The Michigan Department of Community Health, the Department of Education, and the Family Independence Agency, in cooperation with the National Center for Children, Families and Communities at the University of Colorado, jointly selected the communities for the award.

Two additional sites are under consideration for awards at a later date. Initiated more than 20 years ago in Elmira, N.Y., the NFP is an intensive, home visitation program that serves first-time, low-income pregnant women and teenagers.

Evaluations of the program that followed families for 15 years after the birth of a child reflect impressive results such as:

· 30-month reductions in AFDC utilization by the child’s 15th birthday;

· 79 percent reductions in child abuse;

· 69 percent reductions in the arrest rate of mothers;

· 54 percent reductions in arrest rate of juveniles;

· 44 percent reduction in problems associated with maternal alcohol and other drug use;

· 56 percent fewer hospital emergency room visits where injuries were detected; and,

· 25 percent reductions in cigarette smoking during pregnancy among women who smoked at registration

Program activities will link first-time mothers to community resources, guide them in identifying and using their own unique support systems and foster skills needed for successful social, emotional and economic independence.