The Seattle Council approved an increase into the Nurse Family Partnership Program. The budget for the program was $1,017,816 and it was increased 61% now to $1,641,672. I was curious what this program does exactly so I did some investigating into it. I had some concerns obviously since that is a huge increase. The City Of Seattle continues to claim poverty for many of it’s programs and issues so increasing the amount for a nursing program raised a few red flags for me.
What is the Nurse Family Partnership?
Here is their about us description:
“Nurse-Family Partnership helps transform the lives of vulnerable first-time moms and their babies. Through ongoing home visits from registered nurses, low-income, first-time moms receive the care and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy, provide responsible and competent care for their children, and become more economically self-sufficient. From pregnancy until the child turns two years old, Nurse-Family Partnership Nurse Home Visitors form a much-needed, trusting relationship with the first-time moms, instilling confidence and empowering them to achieve a better life for their children – and themselves.”
So it’s a program for single moms who can’t afford it. They get a private nurse which comes to them and supports them for the next two years (until the child turns 2). The non profit claims to be “evidence” based meaning their program has been proven to leave the mothers and children more self sufficient in society. The visiting nurse provides confidence and empowers them to be better mothers and have better children which in the end creates a better society. From their own words the help “breaks the cycle of poverty”.
Now I can’t imagine being a single mom and never will. I’m sure that could be a serious problem and I’m not taking anything away from that. However, is this program justified is the question. We have welfare. The state provides child care for low income. A legal system to deal with dead beat dads and wage garnishment if needed is in place. Couldn’t we just repair the essentials we have in place? Yes, I know that would require actually working and fixing the bad system we have, however, sometimes working isn’t easy. For $2 million dollars a year over the course of a few years our core system could be much better and provide real support to Moms and families.
Unfortunately, I just can’t imagine how a nurse who isn’t any more qualified then these Mothers in need are really helping. They don’t have MBA’s or are they educated for the workforce or business. In fact, my neighbor maybe more qualified as least we know their children stayed out of jail, got into college, and has a good job. How exactly do you pull someone out of poverty just by giving them “good encouragement”? More importantly how do you claim success when a child grows into a respectable citizen eventually? The truth is you can’t. Hanging around a baby (once a week or however long the nurse shows up) isn’t enough time to mold a child into a better adult.
Council Member Tim Burgess claims this program is proven to reduce the crime in the city with over 30 years of research. My goodness I am just not a believer. What makes this program so special that it is so much different then many loving families provide their newborns with today. Many babies are filled with love and have a happy family yet turn our to be criminals and bad on society. You can raise the perfect baby and do everything right yet some children and destined to be in the criminal system. I just don’t see how a program can provide such an impact to a child up to the age of two. I just don’t see the correlation between being poor equals not being loved. You can’t make the conclusion that a criminal is a child who grew up in poverty and with a single mom. In fact, I have found these individuals to be just the opposite. These adults understand what the World is really like. What a dollars true value is. They work the hardest for their money and work hard to be successful. They have seen the bottom and want to be more successful then anybody. They are not afraid to take a risk by opening a business or do everything in their power to get into college even if that means using the system to reach the goal and we have programs to provide that also. They have something to prove and want nothing more than to eventually support and show their Mom that he/she made it. That drive and passion makes people into something great.