Universal Nurse Home Visitation Program Will Expand to Ocean County in 2025, Murphy Administration Announces

As part of the Phase II rollout of the Family Connects NJ initiative – the state’s Universal Nurse Home Visitation program – the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced today they have issued a Request for Proposal to expand the program to an additional six counties, including Ocean County, beginning in January 2025.

As first reported by TLS earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s allocated an additional $20 million in proposed Fiscal Year 2025 state budget to expand the newly-enacted nurse home-visitation program for new mothers.

The Family Connects NJ program, which launched earlier this year, offers a free nurse home visit to all families, regardless of income, within two weeks of the arrival of a newborn and for families that have experienced the tragedy of stillbirth or neonatal loss.

The nurse checks the health of the mother and baby and determines if anyone in the family needs additional services, like lactation counseling or treatment for postpartum depression.

In addition to Ocean County, which leads the state in the amount of births per year, Somerset, Sussex, Passaic, Hudson, Bergen counties are also expected to be included in the expansion.

Nurse home visits through Family Connects NJ have been available in Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, and Essex Counties since January 2024, and after expanding into the six new counties in January 2025, Family Connects NJ will continue to expand incrementally on an annual basis, until fully implemented in every part of the state.

“When we officially launched the Family Connects NJ program earlier this year, we did so with the understanding that the standard postpartum evaluation, which happens six weeks after delivery, was unacceptable and potentially dangerous. There can be no question that mothers need a wide range of support within this extremely sensitive timeframe to ensure their own personal health is assessed and that their families are thriving,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy.

“Family Connects NJ ensures New Jersey families receive the critical support needed to prevent complications within the first two weeks of delivery and, by visiting families in their homes, barriers to getting support and relief are eliminated.

“I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the five counties launched earlier this year, and I look forward to expanding this incredibly common sense – but groundbreaking – program into more counties beginning in 2025. The fact that nurses are both identifying physical challenges early and ensuring critical follow-ups when merited as well as providing support and resources beyond a health check means we are actually building a stronger and more equitable system and state. To this end, we will continue to build a maternal health framework for our state that puts mothers, babies, and families first, making New Jersey the safest and most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby,”continued the First Lady.

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