Nurse Family Partnership working to break cycle of poverty

Alex Leonard with her nine-month-old son Noah
There are a growing number of weapons to fight the cycle of poverty. According to the latest Kids Count report released overnight, the greatest need is a multi-generational approach that provides quality care for children so their parents can get the education and training they need to work and provide for their families. A central Indiana program is filling in the gaps and achieving success.

Little Noah is nine months old and moving along right on schedule. His mom, Alex Leonard, is feeling confident she's also on the right path parenting him thanks to Nurse Family Partnership. They're a partner of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana.

Amy Hutcheson is a Nurse Home Visitor with the program. She started visiting with Alex in her first trimester of her pregnancy and will continue until Noah is about two.

"When we first started working together, I was only eight weeks pregnant so my main thing was what about him crawling, what about him doing this. She helps me a lot. She comes every two weeks," said Leonard.

"It's very centered around mom and what she wants to know-what she wants to learn. We have a binder of information, ideas that they get to choose what we talk about as well as I hit on specific points, safety things," said Hutcheson.

In addition to the parenting help, NFP has partnered with Early Learning Indiana to provide new mothers a job in their Day Learning Centers and child care for their babies.

"I enjoy spending my day with children. This is actually my first and only job I've ever liked," said Leonard.

Alex likes it so much, she's planning a career in early childhood education. Thanks to Early Learning Indiana and a grant by the Lilly Foundation, she's getting free job training while getting paid on the job with Noah never a more than a few footsteps away.

"I have breaks where I nurse him and I enjoy spending the time with him," said Leonard.

"It's really a partnership made in heaven," said Ted Maple, CEO for Early Learning Indiana.

Goodwill's Nurse Family Partnership program serves more than 600 mothers throughout Marion County, but it is nearing its capacity and needs more funding to expand. That funding comes from your donations and purchases from Goodwill retail stores, private monetary gifts as well as government support.