Monday, January 25, 2016

STARTING EARLY - An Expanding Health Program, Bipartisan Supported

"How home visits for vulnerable moms boost kids’ brainpower" PBS NewsHour 1/19/2016

CAUTION:  Remember, just because this bill was bipartisan supported does NOT mean much, until it is funded in an Appropriations Bill which comes later.  Such bills are actually killed or weakened when they do not get the needed funding.  I expect that the money-before-people Republicans will not properly fund this bill, but they will go home and brag about voting for the bill.

The media really needs to concentrate on reporting funding of any Congressional Bill, since many politicians will vote for a bill but later vote against funding it.


SUMMARY:  A rapidly expanding medical program for low-income first-time mothers combines social services with the latest in brain science.  The Nurse-Family Partnership provides in-home advice on health and parenting, which can lead to improved cognitive development and language skills for their children, who are showing up to school better prepared for learning.  Special correspondent Cat Wise reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Next, a look at a political rarity, an expanding health program supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

Special correspondent Cat Wise reports.

KIMBERLY HIRST, Registered Nurse:  I have a book for you guys today.

CAT WISE (NewsHour):  In Aurora, Colorado, registered nurse Kimberly Hirst is checking in on 19-year-old Sinai Herrera and her 2-year-old son, Caleb.

SINAI HERRERA:  One, two, buckle my shoe.

CAT WISE:  The visits are part of a rapidly expanding program called the Nurse Family Partnership.  The partnership combines old-fashioned social services with the latest brain science, all to help low-income first-time mothers and their children.

KIMBERLY HIRST:  Time and time again, I see these young girls drop out of school, so they’re at risk for that and living in poverty forever.

CAT WISE:  The regular visits begin in pregnancy and continue until the children are 2 years old.  Nurses offer advice on health, parenting, and self-sufficiency.

KIMBERLY HIRST:  It’s really so much more educational, rather than clinical.  And so I feel like sometimes I’m, like, a life coach.

CAT WISE:  Improved outcomes, like a 48 percent reduction in child abuse and an 82 percent increased employment for mothers, have been so significant that Congress recently voted to infuse home-visit programs with $800 million in new funding.

But while the Nurse Family Partnership is focused on health and poverty, another outcome is catching the attention of early learning experts.  Kids from the program are showing up at school better prepared.

David Olds, the project’s founder and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, says the educational benefits are no surprise.

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