(a) The general assembly finds that, in order to adequately care for their newborns
and young children, new mothers may often benefit from receiving professional assistance
and information. Without such assistance and information, a young mother may develop habits or practices
that are detrimental to her health and well-being and the health and well-being of
her child. The general assembly further finds that inadequate prenatal care and inadequate
care in infancy and early childhood often inhibit a child's ability to learn and develop
throughout childhood and may have lasting, adverse affects on the child's ability
to function as an adult. The general assembly recognizes that implementation of a nurse home visitor program
that provides educational, health, and other resources for new young mothers during
pregnancy and the first years of their infants' lives has been proven to significantly
reduce the amount of drug, including nicotine, and alcohol use and abuse by mothers,
the occurrence of criminal activity committed by mothers and their children under
fifteen (15) years of age, and the number of reported incidents of child abuse and
neglect. Such a program has also been proven to reduce the number of subsequent births, increase
the length of time between subsequent births, and reduce the mother's need for other
forms of public assistance.
(b) It is the intent of the general assembly that such a program be established for
the state, beginning with a limited number of participants and expanding by the year
2017 to be available to all low-income, first-time mothers in the state who consent
to receiving services.
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