Give children a strong start in life

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Children who do not have enough healthy food, good healthcare, and opportunities to learn face obstacles that put them at risk throughout their lives. Supporting these children and their parents can have huge payoffs in preventing illness, improving education outcomes, and averting future costs to society.

How You Can Help

Help first-time parents succeed and give children a strong start in life by supporting nurse home visitation programs for low-income mothers pregnant with their first child. Nurses provide in-home counseling about healthy pregnancy practices, childcare, and planning for future pregnancies, education, and employment.

High Impact Opportunity

Operating in more than thirty states, Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) matches a registered nurse with a low-income expectant mom starting from early pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. NFP has demonstrated a 48 percent decrease in child abuse and neglect, a 67 percent reduction in children’s behaviora and intellectual problems at age six, and an 83 percent increase in the mothers’ labor force participation. A cost-benefit analysis found that the program returned $5.70 for each dollar invested to help the neediest families. This means that for every high-risk family served, society saw $34,148 of net benefits from increased tax revenues and reductions in the costs of crime, welfare, and other such expenses.

Take Action

Use this online mapping tool to locate current NFP programs and their local implementing partners. To find other home visitation and outreach programs in your area, contact your local community health center or public health department, which can identify good local nonprofits.


Trust is essential in serving vulnerable families in their homes. Communities often view nurses as a particularly credible source of information. Knowledgeof the local culture allows home visitors to communicate health messages effectively. The best programs often train and employ members of the community as part of their outreach teams.

For more information on this model and our analysis of this philanthropic opportunity, see pages 20-22 of High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn.

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