Smart Start and Family Connects International, an evidence-based universal newborn home visiting program, collaboratively launched a 3-year pilot program in eight counties to serve families of newborns. Participating counties include Watauga, Ashe, Henderson, Polk, Cumberland, Hoke, and Robeson.
Families served received access to comprehensive support to ensure healthy development of their newborn. Funded by the federal Preschool Development Grant, the pilot sites combine the benefits of the Family Connects model with local Smart Start partnerships who have key community relationships and the ability to coordinate locally. The pilot sites were chosen in part because they were able to offer a regional approach (covering multiple counties) with a rural focus as accessing health resources in rural areas can be challenging… READ MORE >>
I recently got to experience the immense benefits of the Family Connects program myself just a few months ago when I had my daughter here in Guilford County. It was such a huge relief to have a nurse come to me during some of the hardest weeks I’ve experienced yet, trying to adjust to my new life as a working mom. The nurse I saw even gave me a blood pressure cuff to monitor my blood pressure due to a postpartum preeclampsia diagnosis I experienced and had more tools for me than any of the other doctors I was speaking with. She also provided reassurance knowing that someone would be coming even for a short while to check in on me while my husband was working, and we had no family close by. Thank you for the amazing work you are doing.
“Beyond addressing the needs of individual families, Family Connects has helped to catch and correct issues within the health care system. For example, after multiple nurses raised concerns about incorrectly mixed formula, Best’s team realized all of the parents went to the same pediatrician – and that the office’s take-home instructions on how to mix formula to help constipated babies weren’t clear. Had it been that I was in clinic, seeing a patient whose mom had been mixing the formula incorrectly, I would have merely instructed her how to mix it correctly – and wouldn’t have seen that larger trend that because of our reach, we were able to see”.
“FCI is a universal program offered to everyone in the community and offer it because we realize that all parents need support – its a joyful time, but also a challenging time.”
“Health disparities in our community are prevalent. The most critical visit I’ve made was to a mom who’d delivered twins. Mom reported that she was seen in the ER after passing a huge clot. She showed me a picture and what I saw was very serious. During our visit, mom was still experiencing bleeding and was rating her pain level high. But this is a time when her pain levels should have been minimal. Mom stated that she was told that the clot was a part of “normal shedding. When she reached out to her provider she was repeatedly told that what was happening was normal after having twins. She was very reluctant to be persistent about the symptoms that she was experiencing. I explained that African-American moms have the highest mortality rate in the United States and explained if she feels like something is not right then she must advocate for herself so that she can be around for her children that need her. I was able to empower her with the knowledge and support to advocate for herself with her doctor and she recovered well!”