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Social Innovation Program Update: Nurse-Family Partnership Launches in Sangamon County

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine (SIU School of Medicine FCM), the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln (CFLL), Innovate Springfield, and the Sangamon County Continuum of Learning are excited to announce SIU School of Medicine’s Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) will begin operating the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program in Springfield, Illinois in Spring 2017.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a nurse home-visiting program pairing highly qualified, trained nurses with first-time, low-income mothers. Each mother enrolled in the program is assigned a nurse who conducts a series of one-on-one, health and wellness-focused visits to the client’s home in order to provide educational support on topics including prenatal care, diet, child development, child behavior management, family planning, and economic self-sufficiency. The nurse home-visitor conducts 64 visits with each mother in the span of two and a half years: once per week between the 28th week of the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth, followed by visits made every other week until the child turns two years old. The Springfield NFP program -- which will be operated by SIU School of Medicine’s FQHC -- will serve approximately 100 eligible mothers from throughout Sangamon County over the next three years. SIU School of Medicine FCM will begin hiring home-visiting nurses throughout Spring 2017, and aims for those nurses to begin seeing clients in early Summer 2017.

The idea to operate a NFP program in Springfield was introduced in August 2015 as the Sangamon County Continuum of Learning Coordinating Council (comprised of staff and leadership from CFLL, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Central Illinois, and the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership) published the Sangamon Success report. This set of 25 recommendations was developed by local child development experts and community leaders to improve educational and developmental opportunities for less-advantaged youth in Sangamon County through evidence-based programs and initiatives. The report features implementation of NFP as its first recommendation. Innovate Springfield has supported the NFP approval process in recent months through its Social Innovation Program, which is the organization chiefly responsible for the implementation of the Sangamon Success report.

The NFP program aligns closely with the Sangamon Success report’s focus on using evidence-based, research-tested programs to benefit Sangamon County’s most vulnerable populations. Over 35 years of rigorous evaluation and peer-reviewed studies indicate the program produces a long list of benefits for both mother and child, as well as for their community. In at least one study examining NFP’s effectiveness, researchers observed families who participated in the program experienced a 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect, 59% reduction in child arrests at age 15, and 67% reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems in children at age 6.

For a county like Sangamon with higher than state-average rates of teen births, incidence rates of child abuse and neglect, and percentage of population living in poverty, NFP presents an important opportunity to use 35+ years of research to maximize our ability to address families’ core health and wellness needs while promoting their economic self-sufficiency.

Accomplishing this first ‘Sangamon Success’ recommendation by implementing NFP is an exciting step towards providing an effective and comprehensive continuum of support for Sangamon County’s less advantaged families. The program is being made possible in Springfield entirely through private donations, including $550,000 from an an anonymous donor with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. This initial investment in bringing the NFP program to Springfield served as the impetus for additional financial support from Memorial Health Systems, St. John’s Hospital, and the SIU School of Medicine Foundation. Peer-reviewed studies have indicated for every dollar invested in the Nurse-Family Partnership, a community receives an almost six dollar return as the family participates in the program gains the tools necessary to become economically self-sufficient.

For more information about the Nurse-Family Partnership national organization, visit For more information about or to download the Sangamon Success report, visit

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