Orleans Parish Families With Newborns to Receive Free Nurse Home Visits

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On Tuesday, the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) announced a new program that will provide new mothers and their infants with additional support after birth. The Families Connect New Orleans (FCNO) program will offer free home visits from registered nurses to parents in New Orleans in order to ensure they have access to the resources they need.

“Maternal and child health is one of the leading indicators of the overall health of a community,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “In order for our city to thrive, we must continue to prioritize care and services for mothers and children. When they are safe, healthy, supported, and given proper resources to grow and learn, our communities succeed socially and economically.”

According to the March of Dimes, Louisiana has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the country, with 7.5 infant deaths for every 1,000 births. The state boasts the fifth highest infant mortality rate in the U.S., but there are significant disparities. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reports that black infants are 2.5 times more likely to die than white infants. In addition, four black mothers die for every white mother, and Louisiana ranks 47th out of 48 states for maternal mortality. Locally, Orleans Parish has an infant mortality rate of 6.6 deaths for every 1,000 births, higher than the national average.

“By providing a program like Family Connects New Orleans, we can ensure all of our local families and their babies are on the right path to a healthier future,” said NOHD Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “New Orleans has long suffered high rates of maternal and infant mortality, and this program is designed to address some of the key root causes.”

The FCNO program will offer up to three home visits, free of charge to parents of newborns up to 12 weeks old in Orleans Parish. Each visit will include health screenings for the birth parent and baby, a family assessment for environmental, behavioral, and social need, and direct referrals for additional services when needed. In order to qualify, the birth must occur at Ochsner Baptist or Touro Infirmary.

“We know it takes a village to raise a child,” said Pat Rosenberg, Chief Nursing Officer for Touro Infirmary. “We also know mothers may face many challenges and barriers in accessing the care and support they need. That’s why we are proud to partner with the NOHD to reach out to the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.”

The program will be available later this fall. Families who are interested in learning more can visit the program’s website or call (504) 658-3266.

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