Community in Action
Examples of programs, policies, and tools in action.

Iowa Nurses Support First-Time Moms

March 2, 2014

First-time parents can always use some extra support, and in Clinton County, Iowa, that support is aimed at creating successful families right from the start.

Clinton County is rolling out the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program, an initiative that pairs nurses with new mothers to provide more than just medical care. The nurses meet regularly with mothers and provide them with support and resources to strengthen their parenting, lifestyle, and financial choices, including referrals for nutrition, physical activity, birth control, financial planning, and stress management. “This is really to help families with their parenting skills,” said Michele Cullen, the county’s community health manager. “We’re trying to help parents be more independent and successful in their communities – through healthful eating habits, healthy choices.”

Between April and June 2013, as the Clinton County program first began, seven mothers in Clinton County and eleven mothers in neighboring Scott County, received services, mostly referred by other social service agencies in the area. The funding covers three full time nurses. Through the NFP program, participating mothers must be: a first-time parent, at or before their 28th week of pregnancy, and meet Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) income requirements.

“Once you get the girls and women in the program they see the value of the support,” Cullen said. “It helps to have someone there to be a resource and help them be successful.”

Iowa state officials received funding from the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program of the US Department of Health and Human Services to facilitate evidence-based home visiting programs at the county level. Nurse-Family Partnership services are provided by a number of organizations, including Genesis Health System, Inc., which serves Clinton and Scott counties, the Visiting Nurses Association in Pottawattamie County, and the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa in Polk County.

While it’s just getting off the ground in Clinton County now, its need is clear, as evidenced by mothers who are spreading the word about its services. “Once some clients get into the program, they say, ‘You know, I have a friend who’s pregnant and she could really use this help, too,’” Cullen said.

To learn more, watch a first-time mother describe her experience with an NFP program in Iowa or visit for resources and locations in your area.

Additional contact infomation: Michele Cullen, Community Health Manager, Genesis VNA and Hospice, Nurse-Family Partnership, Clinton, IA 52732, [email protected], 563-242-7165

Communities in Action provide examples of strategies or tools in action. Their purpose is to connect like-minded communities in their implementation efforts, giving insight into how others are tackling key challenges and what they've accomplished. To learn more about the evidence supporting this strategy's effectiveness or resources to help move towards implementation, see the What Works for Health summary of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP).

Date added: March 26, 2014