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Officials looking to fund Nurse-Family Partnership expansion in Albany Co.

March 12, 2019 07:42 PM

Becoming a parent can be scary, especially for mothers who don't have a support system. That's why local officials want to see the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program expanded to Albany County.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said there's a great need for the program, but the expansion would cost about $1 million. He and other advocates are asking lawmakers to find that money in the budget.

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McCoy said lack of prenatal care for mothers in Albany County has led to higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and developmental disabilities.

"These babies are born, they're premature, they have a lot of illnesses that come with them then we have to take care of them," McCoy said. "They end up on assistance and that costs us more going in."

Though it's an investment, McCoy said it will save money in the long run.

"For every one dollar invested in this, $5.70 is saved," McCoy said. "I mean that's better than playing the odds."

Kristin Duffy is the government affairs manager for NFP.

"Our nurses support the mom by ongoing visits to the home throughout the mother's pregnancy and then stays with the mom and the family until the child turns 2," Duffy said.

Duffy said expectant mothers in Upstate New York, in particular, have trouble getting the services they need. She said social isolation can play a big role in that.

NFP is already operating in upstate cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. McCoy and Duffy hope to add Albany to that list very soon.

"Right now, the budget is ongoing and we're hopeful that we will receive more state funding to help expand our programs," Duffy said.

"It's a better outcome for the people that I represent and if we truly want to change people's lives and outcome, we need to do this here," McCoy said.

If lawmakers aren't able to find the money in the state budget, McCoy said he'll probably go to the Albany County Legislature to see if they can fund the expansion.

Stay with NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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