Maternal & Family Health Services (MFHS), in conjunction with the national office of their program, the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), awarded the Force for Good Public Policy Award to Pennsylvania State Senator Lisa Baker (R-Lehman).
Baker, who is serving her third term representing the 20th Senatorial District, successfully advocated for increasing the state appropriation for Nurse-Family Partnership from $11.9 million last year to $13.1 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
Through Baker’s extraordinary support and leadership, Maternal & Family Health Services will be able to expand the Nurse-Family Partnership program to improve health outcomes for more moms and babies in poverty.
“While we commonly praise the importance of the mother-child bond after birth, it is much harder to provide families living in poverty with the practical means for making good, healthy choices,” said Senator Baker. “For many years, I have seen what a blessing it is to have a caring and committed group, as the partnership is, so involved in making a difference in our communities. This is a vital program with proven results and well deserving of the level of state support we have been able to achieve,” continued Baker.
Maternal & Family Health Services began offering the Nurse-Family Partnership program to first time mothers in Lackawanna and Wayne counties in 2002, and the program and has since expanded into Luzerne and Susquehanna counties. This nurse-home-visitor program guides at-risk, first-time mothers through pregnancy and offers support during the first two years of the child’s life.
Baker learned about Nurse-Family Partnership while working for former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge whose wife, Michele Ridge, championed the program as part of her Community Partnership for Safe Kids initiative.
Later, while serving as executive director of the Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Baker worked with the Northeastern Nurse-Family Partnership Collaborative to help expand its program. She continues to be an advocate for NFP as the chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
The Nurse-Family Partnership Force for Good Public Policy Award recognizes elected officials for making a difference for families in poverty. Dr. David Olds, founder of Nurse-Family Partnership, describes the impact of Nurse-Family Partnership as a force for good that changes the future for two generations.
Over 40 years of evidence show that Nurse-Family Partnership improves birth outcomes, child development and school readiness, reduces child abuse and neglect and juvenile crime, among other outcomes.
According to the RAND Corporation, every $1 invested in Nurse-Family Partnership can yield up to $5.70 in return for the highest-risk families served.