The city says its Baby University program to help low-income parents form stronger families and close crucial developmental gaps has seen positive results.
The program was started in 2015 in an effort to assist families with keeping their children healthy and developmentally on target. And a year-end report released this week by the nonprofit shows the initiative is helping families find homes and work.
The city partnered with Signal Centers and BlueCross BlueShield’s Tennessee Health Foundation to create a program where all pregnant mothers receive prenatal care, children are tested to make sure they’re hitting developmental benchmarks, and they’re referred to the appropriate agencies if the child’s development falls behind.
In 2016, 100 percent of moms received prenatal care, more than 22 families improved housing conditions and/or are no longer homeless, and 30 families found employment.
The goal is for all families to have healthy children with no delays, said Donna McConnico, CEO at Signal Centers.
“We try to do whatever it takes to help the baby grow,” she said. “For brain development, if we don’t start at the beginning, we’re going to always be catching up.”
The program now includes 119 families with 228 adults and 296 children.