The Colorado Trust began to support nurse-home visitation to high-risk, first-time mothers and their children in 1993. The Trust first provided funding for the research and development of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), formerly known as the Nurse Home Visitor Program. Developed by David Olds, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health at the University of Colorado, the program strives to improve the prenatal health of new mothers, increase the mothers’ employment rates, assist them in becoming self-sufficient and decrease unintended pregnancies. Through this program, nurses visit the voluntary participants—women who are often unmarried, poorly educated and living in poverty—during their first pregnancy and the first two years of the children’s lives.
Olds researched the program for three decades in Colorado, Tennessee and New York. With Trust support, he conducted a randomized controlled study of the effectiveness of prenatal and infancy home visitation by paraprofessionals versus home visitation by nurses to mothers of children ages 2 to 4. Outcomes of the Denver study were based on maternal reports of subsequent pregnancies, participation in education and work, use of welfare, experience of domestic violence, observations of mother-child interaction and tests of children’s language abilities, among other variables. Results indicated that the NFP program produces statistically significant improvements in women’s prenatal health and infant health, especially where home visitations are conducted by nurses. Trust support for Olds’ research concluded in 2005.
The Trust also funded the work of Invest in Kids (IIK), a nonprofit organization that serves as a statewide catalyst and resource for Colorado communities interested in implementing the NFP program.
With Trust support, IIK commissioned an evaluation of the process of bringing the NFP model from a controlled experimental setting to full implementation in communities across the state.