Nurse-Family Partnership expansion: Covering more ground and saving more babies

The Duval County Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program is expanding to serve 50 families in Baker and Clay counties through a new grant from the Florida Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative (MIECHV).

The 18-month, $375,000 grant, will equip each county with one nurse who will serve 25 families per year. UF Health Jacksonville and the Florida Department of Health Duval, the direct service providers for NFP in Duval County, will provide the nurses and supervision, along with support, coordination and guidance from the two county health departments.

The Nurse-Family Partnership offers an evidence-based model that addresses a gap in the current continuum of home visiting services by using specially-trained nurses to provide intensive, long-term care education and support to first-time mothers living in high-risk communities.

Baker County is a rural county immediate west of Duval County. According to the County Health Rankings released each year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Baker County ranks as one of the unhealthiest counties in the state.  There are currently no in-county prenatal care providers and no delivering hospitals in Baker County. Baker County also ranks in the top 10 in the state for substance-exposed newborn births according to a 2015 report from the Florida Department of Health.

Clay County, although it fares better than surrounding areas, has pockets of areas with poor birth outcomes and considerable health disparities among the African American and Hispanic populations. Like Baker, Clay County also ranks in the top 10 in the state for substance-exposed newborn births according to a 2015 report from the Florida Department of Health.