Health department eyes Family Connects programPublished 11:10pm Saturday, November 30, 2013
The Beaufort County Health Department is seeking permission to accept funding for a program that would provide home nursing visits to every child born in the county.
James Madson, Beaufort County’s health director, is scheduled to explain the Family Connects program to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Monday. Family Connects is a best-practices strategy that’s part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant program. Family Connects allows for one to three home nursing visits, with the focus of the visits being assessments of the mother, child and home.
The program is being established in four rural eastern North Carolina counties. It is part of the Race to the Top’s Early Learning Challenge Transformation Zone grant received by North Carolina to improve early childhood education systems in rural counties.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health is looking for a lead agency for the project, according to a memorandum from Madson to the commissioners.
“Beaufort County Health Department would like to be able to accept this funding in order to oversee and manage the program. This would involve temporary hires into the position. It is expected that no county matches or county appropriations are necessary,” Madson wrote in the memorandum.
“The goal is to transfer the high quality standards of the Connects model to local counties, while still allowing for flexibility to meet the unique needs of the community. The program is intended to triage the family’s needs in 1 to 3 home visits as a “gateway” to support, screen, identify and refer families to community resources,” according to the Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children’s website. “The home visiting nurses will help recruit eligible families, visit them in the home 1-3 times, provide referrals and close cases within 12 weeks after birth.”
The Board of Commissioners meets at 5 p.m. in the Beaufort County Administrative Building, 121 W. Third St., Washington. To review the entire agenda for the meeting, visit www.co.beaufort.nc.us. At the right side of the page, click on “Agenda” under the heading “Next regular Board of Commissioners meeting.”