May 11, 2018 08:32 PM
New parents in Minneapolis will be getting more help as a home visiting program expands. On Friday, the city accepted a $1.1 million dollar grant over the next four and a half years from the Minnesota Department of Health.
The program reaches at-risk mothers who may be low income or have unstable home lives.
The new grant allows the city to expand those visits and also reach fathers.
Every other week, Dajah Catney and Joy Cloutier meet in Catney’s living room to talk about parenthood.
“I feel like she’s just someone I can look up to,” Catney said.
Cloutier is a Hennepin Healthcare visiting nurse and she’s been working with Catney since her pregnancy.
Catney’s daughter Malia is now 10 months old.
“When I was pregnant, she talked about the stages of pregnancy from what I should not eat to the development of the kid,” Catney said.
Now they work on Malia’s development.
“She gives me reassurance that I’m doing good, even though I don't feel like it, like it's okay to cry sometimes, it's okay to be overwhelmed,” Catney said.
She is one of about 25 moms Cloutier visits.
“When you get to know the whole person, it's easier to help direct them into positive healthcare choices,” Cloutier said.
Cloutier told us the medicine is just a small part of what this program offers.
“Help them have a healthy pregnancy, guide them in their parenting and then whatever it is they want to accomplish whether it's school or whether it's with work,” Cloutier said. “I just get to be there as a sounding board.”
She stays with most moms until their child turns two-years-old.
The Minnesota Visiting Nurse Association, part of the Hennepin Healthcare System, has 16 visiting nurses. MVNA partnered with the city of Minneapolis eight years ago.
“It helps with infant mortality reduction, low birth weight, and it improves skills for moms working with their babies,” Patty Bowler, with the Minneapolis Health Department, said.
The $1.1 million state grant will add another nurse to the program, allowing them to reach 425 mothers.
It also allows them to hire a father advocate to help new dads with parenting, employment, education, and housing stability.
Bowler said they hope to replicate a small study they just finished, which researched the effects of a father advocate on families.
“When the dad did better, the mom did better,” Bowler said.
The city hopes to hire a community health worker for the advocate position.
In order for fathers to qualify for the new program, the mother of their child needs to already be enrolled.
Cloutier has seen the benefits of these visits first hand.
“We get to watch them go from not being sure about how to be a mom, to being a confident mom of this toddler and they've done it all,” Cloutier said.
The city's program is funded through state and federal grants, as well as money from the city's general fund.
Updated: May 11, 2018 08:32 PM
Created: May 11, 2018 07:51 PM
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