GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) In May 2017 the board of county commissioners in Alachua county formed the Alachua County Children's Services Advisory Board to make sure all children would be ready to enter kindergarten.
Today, they debuted their new program.
The "Newborn Nurse Home Visit Program" will send out registered nurses and certified nurse midwifes on home visits to families with newborns to check on the health of both the baby and the new mother.
The visits are funded by the board and will be free of charge for all families.
Alachua County Superintendent Karen Clarke said the nurses will serve as an additional resource to new mothers.
"Babies don't come with instruction manuals," Clarke said. "So the nurse is there not only to do assessments if necessary but also be a resource and answer questions for the new moms."
The kickoff event also served as an educational tool for kids and families, teaching bicycle safety and bringing together the organizations involved in the home visit program.
"We had to pull together North Florida Regional Medical Center, UF Health Shands, the home health agencies which are UF Health Shands Home Care Nurse Corps, the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery and the midwives," said Well Florida COO Julie Moderie. "It's a big group, a big collaborative effort, and we're all working together to launch this program."
The program will begin in April, offering the service to anyone who gives birth at UF Health Shands, NFRMC, or a home birth, but the visits are available to all residents of Alachua County.
If you have recently given birth or will give birth before the program begins you can get in contact with Healthy Start of North Central Florida or Well Florida through their websites below.