Hearings of the State Legislature are not often held on the Lower East Side. But last week at the Henry Street Settlement, there was a joint-hearing of the Senate’s Social Services and Children and Families Committees. The hearing was focused on the importance of home visits for young children from high-risk families.
The LES location was arranged by Sen. Daniel Squadron who represents Lower Manhattan. Among those testifying were Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and Human Resource Administration Commissioner Steven Banks. One program Squadron has touted is the Nurse-Family Partnership, a program that connects high-risk mothers with nurse home visits during pregnancy and extending through the child’s 2nd birthday. Fewer than 3,000 families are enrolled out of 40,000 eligible new moms in New York. The program has been proven to reduce infant mortality, child maltreatment and crime.
“We’ve heard statistic after statistic on the real impact maternal home visiting programs have and, unfortunately, how few eligible families we’re serving,” said Squadron. “We need universal access for children and families throughout the state to programs like Nurse Family Partnership.”