A community health program that supports new mothers celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
Nurse-Family Partnership of Forsyth County is part of an evidence-based national model. It works by linking low-income new moms-to-be with a registered nurse for regular home visits and check-ins during the course of a pregnancy and throughout a child’s first two years.
The goal is to improve the lives of young families through healthy birth outcomes, educating parents on childhood development, and helping families stay in school and find employment.
Christine Wanous is the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) of Forsyth County supervisor. She’s been with the initiative since it started in 2012. Wanous says she’s witnessed mothers grow over the past 10 years.
“I watch them become self-confident. I watch them have healthy babies, become amazing moms, that just love their babies so much and give them so much encouragement,” she says.
Since the program began in Forsyth County, there have been nearly 22,000 visits to 770 participants.
Maegan Gomez was one of those participants when she had her first daughter Poppy, who is now 9. She said she was nervous and overwhelmed at times during her pregnancy, but her nurse, Keisha Lucas, gave her a sense of security.
“I always knew that I was going to be OK because I had her support and her guidance. And she really encouraged me that I could do it on my own,” says Gomez.
Gomez says she took the lessons from NFP and applied them to her second pregnancy. A key aspect of the program is that it’s client-focused. Wanous says the emphasis is on listening and providing information in ways that speak to mothers and meet them where they are.
Gomez’s nurse Keisha Lucas says it’s about walking alongside her clients.
“They've been through a lot, but they have really persevered through everything," says Lucas. "Whatever challenges have come their way, they have just really pushed themselves to accomplish their different goals and dreams.”
NFP of Forsyth County was originally funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and then continued through county and state funds.