PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) has awarded new funding to seven community-based agencies to provide home visiting in six communities using three evidence-based models. Through the Affordable Care Act's Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, Healthy Families America, Nurse-Family Partnership®, and Parents as Teachers will reach approximately 700 families and will be provided by several community-based agencies selected to receive funding.
"The funded agencies will work with families in their communities to provide intensive home visiting services to pregnant women and families with young children," said Michael Fine, MD, director of HEALTH. "The evidence-based programs will further Rhode Island's efforts to build quality, comprehensive, statewide support systems for pregnant woman, parents and caregivers, and young children. They will help us take better care of newborns and their mothers, help more moms to breastfeed, and reduce premature birth and adolescent pregnancy."
Healthy Families America enrolls pregnant women and families with infants two weeks old or younger. Home visitors continue to work with a family until the child is three years old. Agencies offering this program include Children's Friend (Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence), East Bay Community Action Program (Newport), Family Resources Community Action (Woonsocket), Family Service of Rhode Island (Providence), and Meeting Street (Providence).
Nurse-Family Partnership enrolls first-time mothers before their 28th week of pregnancy, and nurse home visitors continue to work with families until the child is two years old. This program is offered through Children's Friend in the communities of Central Falls, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
Parents as Teachers enrolls pregnant women and families with infants through six months of age, and home visitors continue to work with families until the child is three years old through the new funding. This program is offered by the Blackstone Valley Community Action Program (Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Connecting for Children & Families (Woonsocket).
Families who participate in these programs have lower rates of child maltreatment, pre-term birth, and emergency room usage. They also have higher rates of prenatal and well-baby care, infant immunization, and economic self-sufficiency. The new funding expands Rhode Island's existing home visiting system, which includes the HEALTH-funded First Connections Program, as well as several longer-term programs.