Health Department Honors First-time Mothers at New York City Nurse-family Partnership Ceremony

A $4 million investment by the City is increasing program capacity to serve approximately 3,000 families

October 6, 2017 — Today, the Health Department held a graduation ceremony in Jamaica, Queens for 64 first-time mothers who completed the New York City Nurse-Family Partnership (NYC NFP) home visiting program. NYC NFP supports women through their first pregnancy to ensure they remain in good health and provide their babies with the best possible start in life. Registered nurses visit the mothers during pregnancy and throughout their child’s first two years of life, offering guidance on family planning; breastfeeding; child development; parenting skills; preventive health practices; and strategies to attain economic self-sufficiency. When their children turn two years old, NYC NFP mothers complete the program, a milestone marked with a graduation ceremony. Since its launch in 2003, the program has served more than 14,500 families and grown to nine sites across the city. NYC NFP is provided at no cost to the mother, regardless of her immigration status or that of her family. Women and teens in New York City who are up to 28 weeks pregnant with their first baby can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/nfp to get more information about eligibility and program enrollment.

Last year, Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council added $4 million per year for the next two years to the City budget to expand NYC NFP. This investment has enabled the creation of two new sites and the expansion of most existing sites. To help meet the growing needs of the city’s homeless population, funding will also be provided for a third team of nurses for NYC NFP’s Targeted Citywide Initiative. This initiative will offer a special site serving homeless women and girls, girls in foster care, and women and girls involved in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The two new NYC NFP sites, which will serve 200 families in some of the city’s historically underserved communities, are being co-located with NYC Health + Hospitals’ Metropolitan and Woodhull facilities. Once the expansion is complete, NYC NFP will have sixteen teams of eight nurses each, with the capacity to serve nearly 3,000 families.

“Most new moms rely on support from family and friends to raise a healthy child,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The Nurse-Family Partnership provides the support that many not be present for first-time moms. For over 40 years, Nurse-Family Partnership has supported new moms in becoming the best parents for their children. This program is a critical intervention in our efforts to address glaring racial inequities in maternal and infant health across our city. We thank Mayor de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their continued support of this program.”

“The NYC NFP home visiting program is a wise, compassionate and evidence-based empowerment program that truly works,” said New York State Senator Leroy Comrie. “It recognizes the core principle that we are stronger when we learn from and are supported by others who are caring, kind, knowledgeable and empathetic. I applaud the longstanding commitment of Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to this difference-making program which saves, changes and enhances the lives of mothers and children across our City.”

"This couldn't be a more exciting milestone," said Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato. "We're looking forward to having my constituents in the next graduating class! As an Early Learning Fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, I studied how effective these partnerships can be, leading to better outcomes for babies, mothers and the community at large. We owe every parent in NYC a shot to raise their child healthy, happy and well-supported; NFP NYC is a great way to achieve that objective. Congratulations to the graduates, the participating nurses and NFP NYC."

“NYC NFP provides a great service for the community,” said Assembly Member Clyde Vanel. “As the city continues to expand the program, more women and girls will receive the proper care that is needed to ensure that they have successful pregnancies and healthy babies.”

"There is no overstating the value of pre-natal care to an expectant mother," said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. "The City's Nurse Family Partnership program has successfully shepherded tens of thousands of underserved families through the many challenges and joys of pregnancy, helping them achieve positive outcomes for both infant and mother. This is especially important to my constituents whose need for healthcare services outweighs the existing supply within our District. I wish to congratulate the first-time mothers we are celebrating today for their participation, and Commissioner Bassett for her advocacy and determination to expand the reach of this beneficial program."

The NYC Nurse Family Partnership is an important part of the City’s efforts to improve maternal and infant health outcomes across the five boroughs. The Health Department’s programs and resources that promote healthy pregnancy outcomes and reproductive health include:

  • The Newborn Home Visiting Program
    The Newborn Home Visiting Program has served more than 42,000 families since 2007. The program sends health workers into homes to provide breastfeeding support, among other support services for families. The service is available for all mothers, regardless of age or immigration status.

  • Here For You Campaign
    Launched in June 2017, the “Here For You” bilingual campaign promotes free services for parents of infants and toddlers via TV, digital and social media, bus shelters and subways. Services and resources promoted in the campaign include home visiting programs like Nurse-Family Partnership and Newborn Home Visiting Program, as well as community parent groups, referrals to Early Intervention and information on safe sleep practices.

  • Family Wellness Suites
    Housed within the Neighborhood Health Action Centers, the Family Wellness Suites are dedicated spaces to promote maternal wellbeing and family health. The Family Wellness Suite expands the scope of reproductive and women’s health services by providing a physical space for women to breastfeed, rest, exercise, and strengthen their social support networks. Programs offered at the suites include activities to support breastfeeding, risk-reducing behaviors during and after pregnancy, healthier eating, as well as resources for referral to medical and social service providers and birthing centers.

  • Healthy Start Brooklyn
    A multifaceted place-based initiative, Healthy Start Brooklyn provides education and support to improve the health and wellbeing of women, their babies and families. The program focuses on central and eastern Brooklyn, serving the neighborhoods of Brownsville, East New York, Bedford Stuyvesant and Bushwick. Healthy Start Brooklyn provides home visiting as well as resources on breastfeeding, perinatal depression, developmental delays and home safety. The program works with the entire family by engaging fathers through the program Fathers Also Matter (FAM), which supports men as parents and offers referrals to job training and other services. Healthy Start Brooklyn also operates the By My Side Support Program, pairing doulas (trained childbirth assistants) with pregnant women.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodríguez, (347) 396-4177
pressoffice@health.nyc.gov