By State Representative Steven Mentzer
On Nov. 3, I was invited to observe the Lancaster County Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) Advisory Committee. NFP is a program that has positively transform the lives of babies, mothers and families. The national program is evidence-based and has proven outcomes ranging from improved birth and child health to improved outcomes for mothers and families leading to a decreased use of the welfare and judicial systems. The NFP program changes lives for generations and saves taxpayers $5.70 for every $1 invested.
The NFP program is partially funded through state and federal sources such as the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning. I believe this is an excellent example of tax money being used in a very positive and productive way. It is also supported by Penn Medicine Lancaster General and Women United.
NFP has proven to decrease child abuse and neglect by 48 percent, reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems at 6 years of age by 67 percent and a reduction of emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings by 56 percent.
The program pairs first-time, low-income mothers (at or below 250 percent of poverty) with specially trained registered nurses. The nurses’ visit the families in their home during pregnancy and until the children are 2 years of age. The women form a relationship with their nurse that can help break the cycle of poverty by helping them to become empowered and confident, thus paving the way for successful futures for both their children and themselves. The mother receives preventive health and prenatal health education, health and development education and care of their child and life coaching to enable economic self-sufficiency. The program is available free of charge to any first-time mother living in Lancaster County, and referrals can be made by contacting Nurse Family Partnership at 717-544-4872. For additional information, please visit here
I believe if we direct our state tax revenue wisely, we can help improve the well-being of our community.