November’s Featured #PKFMISSIONMONDAY Program is Pasco Kid’s First’s newest program – The Healthy Families Nurse Intervention Program.  Last year, there were 1,638 verified counts of “Substance Exposed Newborn” from investigations statewide. The epidemic of substance misuse is an undeniable issue and has been especially devastating to pregnant women and their children. Most pregnant women using illicit drugs, taking prescribed opioids, or receiving opioid replacement therapy deliver an infant having signs of withdrawal, and many of these infants will develop neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and require pharmacological management.

NAS infants are more likely to be diagnosed with prematurity, low birth weight, respiratory complications, seizures, and feeding difficulty.

Beyond the neonatal period, these children have increased incidence of behavioral, learning and visual problems frequently associated with psychosocial difficulties, thus increasing the risk for child abuse and foster placement.

Prenatal exposure to illegal substances and doctor-prescribed medication has the potential to cause a wide spectrum of physical, emotional, and developmental problems for infants.

Early intervention to support families in developing positive relationships with their infants and toddlers can promote good parenting practices. Furthermore, early detection and appropriate developmental and behavioral services and supports are critical to significantly improve development and overall well-being of the children. Healthy Families Florida has a long-standing mission of preventing abuse, promoting healthy child development and empowering families to be self-sufficient through individualized parent coaching and support.

The Healthy Families Nurse Intervention Program links families to a Registered Nurse Home Visitor who will:

  • Create and modify a Plan of Safe Care (POSC)
  • Identify and address medical needs including NAS
  • Identify and address any needs of individuals living in the same home as the substance-affected infant
  • Identifies and assists families in accessing needed resources and services, including medical providers
  • Provides follow-up to identified concerns and monitors family progress on the POSC
  • Administers developmental assessment tools at established intervals, when needed or requested, including Ages and Stages Questionnaires, social-emotional screening and depression screenings.
  • Empowers families to complete their goals and become self-sufficient

This program is making a difference. Child abuse doesn’t stop during COVID-19. When you support Pasco Kids First, you are making a difference in a child’s life who is struggling from birth. It takes all of us to fight this epidemic. Your donation today will help a child tomorrow.