The Durham Connects newborn nurse home visiting program has made a significant leap from university supported pilot to a nonprofit-driven program. The organization now operates from the Center for Child and Family Health located in the NC Mutual Life Building in downtown Durham.
Durham Connects has been providing newborn nurse home visits to parents of newborns since 2008. The nonprofit offers home visits at no charge to all Durham County residents who deliver their babies in a Durham hospital. A nurse typically visits the home at about three weeks postpartum to offer a physical assessment of mom and baby, offer support, and make referrals to local parenting resources. Parents surveyed give Durham Connects a 98 percent positive rating for helpfulness and would recommend it to a friend.
Eligible parents do not need to sign up for the program in advance. Instead, a representative meets with families in the hospital following each birth. Obstetricians, pediatricians, and hospital staff endorse the program and encourage parents to participate. Currently about 75 percent of eligible families sign up.
The program pilot launched in 2008, offering home visits to half of the county's population. It then underwent an evaluation period between July 2009 and December 2010. Initial results of the evaluation are positive and currently are being prepared for publication. The program expanded to serve all Durham born babies to Durham County residents in January 2011.
Funding for Durham Connects comes from The Duke Endowment, Durham County and small grants. The Center for Child and Family Policy, along with the Durham County Health Department, will continue to collaborate on the program with a goal of 100 percent community sustainability by 2013.
To learn more about the organization, call (919) 419-3474 or visit www.durhamconnects.org.