In 2016, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment partnered to fund an innovative, comprehensive program for all Forsyth County, North Carolina new mothers and babies called Forsyth Connects. The program offers access to free in-home visits by a Novant Health registered nurse who schedules follow-up visits as appropriate.
The initial three-year, $2.6 million combined grant effort connects nurses and families during the first weeks of an infant’s life to offer support, education and information. “This program will provide families with a link to a myriad of community resources if they need them,” said Kirsten Royster president and COO of Novant Health Medical Park Hospital. “For example, if new moms are dealing with postpartum depression or don’t have access to a crib or are unsure about how they’ll make ends meet with a new baby, the Forsyth Connects nurse can link that mom to other agencies and resources that can help.”
The model for Forsyth Connects is a program developed and tested beginning in 2008 in Durham County by the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University in collaboration with the Center for Child & Family Health and the Durham County Health Department. “No parent is successful alone and this program connects parents to services so they can better connect with their infant. Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, The Duke Endowment and Novant Health are willing to commit to Forsyth Connects because they see the benefit to their community,” said Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.
Forsyth Connects’ staff estimates that of the average 4,500 births in Forsyth County each year, about 80 percent of mothers, or 3,600, will accept the in-home service. The projected number of individual visits will be between four and seven over an 18-month period.