Sunday, November 09, 2008
Every Child Succeeds is one of five programs in the nation to receive the 2008 American Hospital Association NOVA Award for improving community health through effective, collaborative projects. Each of the five programs will be honored at a July 26 ceremony during the association’s annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Diego.
Every Child Succeeds, a home visitation program for first-time, at-risk mothers and their babies, is intended to provide an optimal physical and emotional start in life for children. The program, made possible by the support of private donors and public funds, was founded in 1999 by three organizations: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency and United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
Nurses, social workers and child development specialists visit mothers and their babies on a regular basis from the time of pregnancy until the child’s third birthday. Home visitors offer parenting support and guidance, such as tracking the baby’s development, providing health and nutrition education, and assessing the home environment to ensure that it is safe and stimulating. The program is voluntary and all services are provided free of charge. Since 1999, Every Child Succeeds has served more than 13,500 families through more than 261,000 home visits.
“Hospitals do so much for the community, yet they depend upon the caring and compassion of other groups and organizations to offer the most to those in need,” said AHA president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “The AHA NOVA Award recognizes those hospitals working collaboratively with others that provide valued and compassionate programs to their community and today’s winners are truly inspirational examples.”
The AHA NOVA Award was established in 1993 to recognize hospital-led programs that improve community health by extending help to low-income, uninsured or underserved children and adults, the chronically ill and racial and ethnic minorities. The 2008 award winners were selected from almost 67 applications, recommended by the AHA NOVA Award Committee and approved by the AHA Board of Trustees. The award is co-sponsored by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.
AHA NOVA Award winning programs share a common goal with the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI), to improve community health. ACHI is the premier national association for community health, healthy communities and community benefit and is an educational affiliate of the AHA NOVA award.
“With the support of donors, the Community Action Agency, the United Way and 16 provider agencies, Every Child Succeeds is having a tremendous impact on our community,” says Judy VanGinkel, president of Every Child Succeeds. “Perhaps the most compelling evidence is that infant mortality rates for program participants are less than one-third of the Hamilton County infant mortality rate.”
Each of the program's three founding organizations play a unique role within Every Child Succeeds. Cincinnati Children's oversees the medical component of the program as well as its research. United Way of Greater Cincinnati raises funds and involves the business community. Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency / Head Start provides connections to the community and serves as one of the lead provider agencies.
ECS uses an evidence-based approach to continually enhance its services, relying on extensive data to measure outcomes and apply quality improvement science. Eligible moms are young, low-income, single and/or receiving inadequate prenatal care. These are factors that tend to put their children at higher risk for delayed development, abuse and neglect, and poor academic achievement.
Home visits focus on positive parenting, self-sufficiency, child safety, preventive health care and early intervention to provide a positive trajectory for the child, promote child and family well-being and work toward school readiness. Home visitors also help mothers access prenatal care and other community-based resources.
Every Child Succeeds is guided by scientific research confirming that a stimulating and nurturing environment is essential for optimal brain development, which in turn leads to readiness for school and physical and behavioral health. This program is effective because its highly professional home visitors establish a trusting relationship with mothers at a critical time, providing information and skills that help children reach their potential.