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Nurse-Family Partnership



Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) provides first-time, low-income mothers of any age with home visitation services from public health nurses. NFP nurses work intensively with these mothers to improve maternal, prenatal, and early childhood health and well-being with the expectation that this intervention will help achieve long-term improvements in the lives of at-risk families. The intervention process is effective because it focuses on developing therapeutic relationships with the family and is designed to improve five broad domains of family functioning:

  • Health (physical and mental)
  • Home and neighborhood environment
  • Family and friend support
  • Parental roles
  • Major life events (e.g., pregnancy planning, education, employment)

Starting with expectant mothers, the program addresses substance abuse and other behaviors that contribute to family poverty, subsequent pregnancies, poor maternal and infant outcomes, suboptimal child care, and a lack of opportunities for the children.

This program has been tested with both white and African-American families in rural and urban settings. Nurse-visited women and children fared better than those assigned to control groups in each of the outcome domains established as goals for the program. In a 15-year follow-up study of primarily white families in Elmira, New York, findings showed that low-income and unmarried women and their children who had been provided a nurse home visitor had, in contrast to those in a comparison group:

  • 79 percent fewer verified reports of child abuse or neglect.
  • 31 percent fewer subsequent births.
  • An average interval of more than two years between the birth of their first and second child.
  • 30 months’ less receipt of Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
  • 44 percent fewer maternal behavioral problems due to alcohol and drug abuse.
  • 69 percent fewer maternal arrests.
  • 60 percent fewer instances of running away on the part of the 15-year-old children.
  • 56 percent fewer arrests on the part of the 15-year-old children.
  • 56 percent fewer days of alcohol consumption on the part of the 15-year-old children.

Risk Factors


Difficult temperament

Early and persistent noncompliant behavior



Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status

Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)

Having a teenage mother

Maternal drug, alcohol, and tobacco use during pregnancy

Parental criminality

Parental neglect and abuse

Parental psychiatric disorder

Parental substance abuse

Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices

Poor parent-child relations or communication

Pregnancy and delivery complications


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Model program

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001): Model program

OJJDP Blueprints Project: Model program


Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office
1900 Grant Street, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (866) 864-5226 or (303) 327-4240
Fax: (303) 327-4260
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/


Eckenrode, J., Campa, M., Luckey, D. W., Henderson, C. R., Cole, R., Kitzman, H., Anson, El. Sidora-Arcoleo, K., Powers, J., and Olds, D. (2010). Long-term effects of prenatal and infancy nurse home visitation on the life course of youths: 19-year follow-up of a randomized trial. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 164, 9-15.

Olds, D. L., Kitzman, H., Cole, R., Hanks, C., Arcoleo, K., Anson, E., Luckey, D., Knudtson, M., Henderson, C., Bondy, J., and Stevenson, A. (2010). Enduring effects of prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses on maternal life course and government spending: Follow-up of a randomized trial among children at age 12 years. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 164(5), 419-424.

Robling, M., Bekkers, M.-J., Bell, K., Butler, C. C., Cannings-John, R., Channon, S., Martin, B. C., Gregory, J. W., Hood, K., Kemp, A., Kenkre, J., Montgomery A. A., Moody, G., Owen-Jones E., Pickett, K., Richardson, G., Roberts Z. E. S., Ronaldson, S., Sanders, J., Stamuli, E., & Torgerson, D. (2015). Effectiveness of a nurse-led intensive home-visitation programme for first-time teenage mothers (Building Blocks): a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. The Lancet,published online 14 October 2015

Date Created: April 7, 2021