While the birth of a child is a joyous family event, it can be a stressful transition. Every family needs information and support when a baby is born. No one is fully prepared for the unique changes a new baby brings. Universal newborn home visits offer support to parents and provide links to community resources aimed at increased family well-being, reduced emergency medical care for infants, support for positive parenting behavior and enhanced childcare selection.
A nurse meets with the family at their home to offer supportive guidance and respond to questions about newborn care. Over the course of one to three visits, the nurse assesses newborn growth, family strengths and needs and maternal health in order to link the family to appropriate community resources.
Children under age three account for the largest number of victims of child abuse and neglect. Universal newborn home visits offer support, provide guidance and connect families to community resources at this pivotal transition point while also addressing risk factors for child abuse and neglect, such as social isolation, lack of knowledge of infant development and limited access to concrete support.
This approach entails identifying the factors that undermine family well-being, working with the family to answer questions, access resources and sharpen skills. This strategy is universally offered to all families after the birth of a child. It is a critical part of a continuum that supports thriving families.
The Prevention Board is committed to mobilizing research and practice
to prevent child maltreatment through its community investments. For example, UW-Milwaukee has received financial support to evaluate the implementation of Family Connects, a newborn home visit program in Racine County. Racine Elevates All Children's Health (REACH) will measure intermediate and long-term outcomes for maternal health, household stability, access to community services and reduction of involvement with child protection services.
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