A new program in Oregon is helping parents adjust to their role as mom and dad. Family Connects Oregon is a universally offered nurse home visiting program that helps parents with newborns. According to a press release from the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon is the first state in the country to offer such a program and require private insurance companies to pay for it.
Families who choose to opt-in to the voluntary program will receive one to three home visits from a registered nurse to help them embark on their parenting journey. The visits start when the newborn is around three weeks old, and can continue until the child is six months of age. The program will also connect families to local resources and services that offer assistance to families.
“We don’t have a parent manual that comes with us, with a baby,” Brenda Comini told KTVZ. “So just being able to reassure parents, everything from, are they developing appropriately? Are they the right size for what they should be?”
While the pandemic has changed what the program looks like somewhat, as all visits are currently being done virtually, it hasn’t stopped the visits from moving forward. “It is not the same as in-person, and we will welcome the day we can go back to in-person,” Comini said. “But we have figured out effective ways to offer those just like this, over Zoom, to have personal conversation.”
The program is initially only available to families who have just given birth, but in the future, it will likely be available to foster parents and adoptive parents.
KTVZ reports that Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward sponsored Senate Bill 526, which implemented the program. “Home visiting is about meeting families where they are, assessing if they have any needs, and helping connect them to the right resources to meet those needs,” she said, according to the station.
While the program is a welcome sign that Oregon is giving support to new parents, it also demonstrates the state’s double standard. Oregon is one of the country’s most abortion-friendly states, a stance that was solidified recently when it voted down protections for babies who survive abortion. The state also requires all abortions to be funded through health insurance plans — making the killing of preborn children free for its citizens. This sends the message that abortion is the best option for moms who are struggling. Instead, parents experiencing unplanned pregnancies need to know from the very beginning that help is available for them both before and after birth.
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