New program helps first-time, low-income moms

Somerset Borough, Somerset County, Pa. - The new Nurse-Family Partnership in Somerset County is helping at-risk mothers raise healthy babies.

Morgan Hittie is one of the first mothers enrolled in the new program. 

Hittie said she never thought her life would be as good as it is now. She has a stable home, a new job and her nearly 2-month old daughter Audriella weighs a healthy 9 pounds and 15 ounces.

"I just think of how tiny she was in my belly, and now she's this big and she's still so tiny," said Hittie, a new mom who lives in Somerset Borough.

Growing up, Hittie didn't have a stable home, her mother struggled with mental illness and Hittie experimented with drugs.

"I don't really want to raise my daughter the way my mom has raised us," Hittie said.

Now, the 19-year-old single mother is getting the help she needs to raise Audriella through Somerset County's new Nurse-Family Partnership. Registered nurses visit first-time mothers starting at 28 weeks of pregnancy up to the baby's 2nd birthday, to provide them with prenatal and early childhood health care.

"As a single mom, any help I can get, I appreciate that help," Hittie said.

By helping moms have a healthy pregnancy and eventually a healthy baby, the Nurse-Family Partnership hopes to put them on the path to success: enhancing early brain development, promoting parental engagement and making sure children are ready for Kindergarten.

"Accessing prenatal care is important. They may not know it's important. Or the risks involved with first time pregnancies. Nutrition, substance abuse issues, stress," said Travis Hutzell, Resource Development Director for United Way of the Laurel Highlands.

This year, United Way received a $255,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to expand the program into Somerset County.

"I wish I had this program for myself actually, when I had my first daughter. I lived away from my family, and it would have been nice to have a support-system to help you," said Lisa Miller, the director of the Somerset County Nurse-Family Partnership.

Hittie said she's looking forward to starting her new job assisting elderly and disabled resident because she can pay forward the kindness she's received.

"I just want to help people the way I've been helped because growing up I thought I was so alone and there are so many people, just arms open," Hittie said.

If you would like to apply to the Nurse-Family Partnership, you can contact Home Nursing Agency by calling: 800-315-4358 or visiting their website.


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