A Program that Succeeds at Building Poor Mom Wisdom

toddler at window 100

Here is a wonderful example of how poor mom wisdom can be taught and can yield phenomenal outcomes.   See this article:

“For Mothers at Risk, Someone to Lean On.  N.Y.C. Nurses Aid Low-Income First-Time Mothers”, published in the New York Times on Dec 15 2012.

It describes a program that has a long track record (started in the 1970’s) and has spread to 42 states.  That is enough experience to be studied and evaluated.  The article reports that those studies found these results:

“women in the program have had:

  • fewer premature deliveries,
  • smoked less during pregnancy,
  • spent less time on public assistance,
  • waited longer to have subsequent children,
  • had fewer arrests and convictions, and
  • maintained longer contact with their baby’s fathers.
  • Their children have had
    • fewer language delays and
    • reported less abuse and neglect,
    • slightly higher I.Q. scores,
    • fewer arrests and convictions by age 19, and
    • less depression and anxiety.”

I changed the formatting of that quote because the length and breadth of the list is so impressive.

You may well wonder if this kind of program is affordable at a time when government budgets are so tight.  There is good news on this front.

“A 2011 study of New York City’s Nurse-Family Partnership program, which currently has 91 nurses serving 1,940 families, projected that by the time a child in the program turns 12, the city, state and federal governments will have saved a combined $27,895, with additional savings thereafter — more than twice the program’s cost per child. The study was conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation using data from the Nurse-Family Partnership’s research at three locations, then extrapolated to New York.”

This kind of longer term benefit is often still a hard sell in budget debates that may be heavy on short-term thinking.  But solid, credible data is a wonderful asset in the quest for rational, high impact programs such as this one.

Categories: All Posts, For Social Service Organizations, Relevant Research

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