Deona Scott was 24 and in her final semester at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina when she found out she was pregnant. She turned to Medicaid for maternity health coverage, and learned about a free program for first-time mothers that could connect her with a nurse to answer questions about pregnancy and caring for her baby.
The nurse would come to her home throughout her pregnancy and for two years after her child’s birth.
“My mouth dropped,” Scott says. “I was like, ‘Thank you, thank you — I can’t not take this program.’ “
Now Scott works full time for the same branch of Nurse-Family Partnership that helped her, a local affiliate of the national program. She spreads the word about the program to pregnant teenagers and other young women in South Carolina who may be feeling just as scared and unprepared as she felt before her son Phoenix was born. He’s now 3.
Philanthropists, including the Duke Endowment, the Boeing Co. and the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, pledged $17 million upfront to allow Nurse-Family Partnership to expand its services.
Continued federal funding is key, she adds. “What we really want is secure and dedicated funding. “We need to serve more families.”
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