New Stephenson County Families to Receive Home Visit

Stephenson County has been awarded a state and federal grant and the opportunity to be one of just two Illinois counties to offer a new program called Illinois Family Connection Newborn Home Visiting Program. FHN and the Stephenson County Health Department are partnering to offer the program free of charge to all Stephenson County families of babies born at FHN Memorial Hospital.

The program is offered in partnership with the Ounce of Prevention Fund and will provide in-home visits to newborns born at FHN Memorial Hospital whose mothers reside in Stephenson County.

Other partners for the program include the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Home Visiting Task Force, and the Illinois MIECHV (Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting) State Team.

The program is modeled after Family Connects in Durham, NC. Research showed that when families used the program, mothers felt less anxious, were able to learn about quality childcare options available to them, and their babies need less emergency care at hospitals. In fact, research found that every $1 invested in the program saved $3.02 in emergency health costs for the community.

Part of the grant will pay for a small team of registered nurses who will provide a weight and health check for each baby born at FHN Memorial Hospital, and schedule a follow-up home visit with Mom and baby.

During a home visit, the nurse will offer support to new parents, answer any questions they may have and help the parents get the most from the resources available to them, from well-check visits with the pediatrician to connections with social service agencies, quality childcare options and other programs that may benefit the family.

The Family Connects team of nurses are experienced nurses who can answer all kinds of questions and help new parents with subjects ranging from breastfeeding and safe sleeping to how to comfort a fussy baby, postpartum depression, understanding childcare options and going back to work, how to get the most from a pediatrician appointment, early literacy information, financial resources available and more.