Home visiting makes a difference for young Sonoma County families
It’s tough being a new mom. But there’s help to be found.
Sonoma County Nurse-Family Partnership is a home visiting program that pairs pregnant and newly parenting women with a public health nurse or trained professional who makes regular visits in the participant’s home to provide guidance, support and access to prenatal care and other health and social services. It is a preventive intervention focused on promoting positive parenting and child development, with the ultimate goal of strengthening families and communities. this is a program for people who enroll before 28 weeks of pregnancy and who will be parenting for the first time.
Ashley found out she was pregnant while she was incarcerated on a drug case. “My life was pretty chaotic,” she says. “I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to do other than become a mom.” She enrolled in Sonoma County’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) and met Helena, who served as Ashley’s home visiting nurse for the next two-and-a-half years. Helena provided Ashley with guidance and parenting skills and helped her connect with resources, including child care, WIC, a dentist, mommy groups, a doula, parent education classes, storytime at the library and places to get affordable baby clothes.
Ashley has achieved several goals since joining the home visiting program, including successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program, maintaining sobriety, reuniting and moving in with her daughter’s father, and re-enrolling at the local community college to continue her studies in child development and psychology.
Melissa endured a tough childhood, so when she found out she was pregnant, she was scared. “I felt some doubt that I would know how to be a mom, because my mom wasn’t there for me,” she says.
Melissa enrolled in Sonoma County’s Nurse-Family Partnership home visiting program to learn about pregnancy and motherhood. For more than two years, Melissa received support, information and encouragement from her public health home visiting nurse and says, “My nurse made me feel prepared. Once I had my daughter, all fears went away!” As a new mother, Melissa turned to her nurse for resources, including WIC and finding dental care for her baby.
Melissa describes NFP as a program that provides not only knowledge but also opportunities to succeed and achieve goals. “Being in this program, I’ve gained confidence, learned to have patience with myself, and have become so proud of myself and my daughter.
“I was pregnant and alone, about to be homeless,” Stacie says. Her grandmother, whom Stacie had lived with since age 4, passed away at the same time Stacie found out she was pregnant—and the house went up for sale. Stacie’s doctor recommended Sonoma County’s Nurse-Family Partnership home visiting program, and the mother-to-be thought, “Why not?”
Stacie gained more than she had hoped from the program and from her nurse, who helped her—a single mom with no support from her baby’s father—access resources. These included cash assistance through SonomaWorks, subsidized child care, a diaper bank, and adult school to finish the last 25 credits needed for her high school diploma. Stacie’s nurse describes her client as “incredibly strong,” adding that Stacie “grew up with little money or support, yet has a positive outlook on life, motivation to go after her dreams, and determination to create a good life for her son.”
For more information, contact (707) 565-4440