By: Thomas Kinghorn and Carrie Bale—
BY5 Early Childhood Initiative (pronounced by five) is working to transform the community by connecting Kindergarten readiness to economic success. A community wide strategic plan has been developed with the involvement of over 80 community members. The comprehensive strategic plan focuses on 5 overarching goals to ensure the future success of our community so that young children have a strong foundation for life. Those 5 goals are: 1) The role of BY5 as a conveyor, catalyst and communicator about this important topic. 2) Supporting families in all ways possible so families understand their role in the development of their child, as well as making sure support systems are in place so families can focus on raising their family. 3) Advocating for High Quality Early Childhood Environments, wherever children are being cared for and educated. 4) Healthy Children and 5 ) Supportive Communities who understand the importance of brain development and become engaged in creating supportive communities for families and young children. Attached to each of these goals are specific strategies that we believe, when taken as a whole, will create the outcomes we desire for our children and our community. Some strategies have begun to formulate and some are even in implementation phase.
This work has the support of not only the Muncie Action Plan, (MAP) but also The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, Inc., The Ball Brothers Foundation, and The George and Frances Ball Foundation. The Muncie & Delaware County Chamber of Commerce also included it in VISION 2016.
As the strategies continue to be developed and rolled out BY5 will be creating a BY5 Network to connect the work that is happening, and show the level of commitment from so many neighbors, friends, partners and ambassadors throughout Delaware County. One strategy identified early on by the Health and Wellness Task Force was the desire to have a nurse home visiting program for new mothers in our county.
The Nurse Family Partnership
BY5 Early Childhood Initiative is pleased to announce the addition of a nationally recognized program (Nurse Family Partnership – NFP) to provide services to new pregnant mothers in Delaware County. With the NFP program, nurses are paired with mothers before their 28th week of pregnancy to provide support services, including home visiting throughout the pregnancy until the child is two years old. The NFP was identified early on in the strategic planning for the BY5 initiative. Goodwill Industries, which currently operates a successful NFP program in Central Indiana, was identified as a potential model. As a result of further investigation and discussion, it was determined that this program could fit as an important component of a broad-based approach to optimal child development by age five. Further negotiations brought the NFP program to Muncie and Delaware County.
Brain research shows that 75% of lifetime brain development occurs by age three. Getting support to new mothers makes a crucial difference in health and cognitive outcomes for the future of every child. NFP has been shown to reduce medical costs by increasing the number of full term pregnancies and reducing injuries to children. Goodwill and the Indiana State Department of Health were successful in applying for a federal expansion grant on behalf of BY5 to bring this program to Delaware County.
NFP has the data to show that their home visiting model works! A recently released study by Ted Miller concluded that NFP not only saves lives but greatly reduces cost to society as new mothers and children participate in the program. (Miller, T.R. 2015. Projected outcomes of Nurse-Family Partnership home visitation during 1996-2013, USA. Prevention Science. 16(6)). A reduction in pre-term births, decrease in intimate partner violence and reduction in abortions to name a few. NFP will provide an important enhancement to the existing supportive framework within the community. After the child reaches age two and the family graduates from the program, they are then linked with a Guide who will provide referrals and resources until the child is five years old.
The NFP is currently accepting referrals for this program, so if you know if someone who is pregnant for the first time, they can call 317- 524- 3999 or contact Carrie Bale (see below) for a complete brochure. Please help MAP and BY5 spread the word so that new mothers can receive the support and assistance available to them through this program.
BY5 started because of Task Force 1 of the Muncie Action Plan, which focuses on linking health, education and community prosperity. For further information about the BY5 mission/vision and goals or current initiatives please visit www.muncieBY5.org
Carrie Bale is Executive Director of BY5
Mr. Tom Kinghorn is Board Chair for BY5 Early Childhood Initiative, Inc. Mr. Kinghorn is the retired Vice President of Business Affairs for Ball State University.