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Press Releases


State Pilot Program Has Provided Assistance to the Families of more than 500 Newborns



Pilot Program Began at Bridgeport Hospital, Will Expand to St. Vincent’s Medical Center on May 31, 2024

(BRIDGEPORT, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that a state pilot program led by several of Connecticut’s health and human services agencies has provided expert, at-home nurse and community health worker assistance to the families of more than 500 newborns who live in the Greater Bridgeport region since launching in October of 2023.

Known as Family Bridge, this pilot program aims to ease transition from hospital to home for the parents of newborn babies by giving these families the option of having a nurse or community health worker visit their homes in the immediate days and weeks following birth. It is offered to all families at no cost and there’s no eligibility criteria to apply. Using the Family Connects evidence-based model, it is designed to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and address health disparities by providing a universal, accessible, and seamless system of post-natal care.

This is a joint initiative of the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy, the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Department of Social Services, and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. The Lamont administration is funding it through the state’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) resources, as well as Preschool Development Birth Through Five Grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and health disparities funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The pilot program began as an initiative offered to the families of newborns who are delivered at Bridgeport Hospital and who live in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Milford, Monroe, Shelton, Stratford, and Trumbull. It will expand to include babies born at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport beginning May 31, 2024. Plans are being explored for phased implementation in other areas, including in the Norwich region.

“We want every child in Connecticut to have the best start possible, and that includes through essential resources like health care, child care, and education,” Governor Lamont said. “This newly launched initiative is part of our ongoing work to make Connecticut the most family-friendly state in the country. Providing at-home care from registered nurses and community health workers to the families of newborn babies is a smart way of delivering high-impact support when it matters most. We are a state of progress and opportunity, and this program is exactly that – progress in supporting families that enhances their opportunities for success. I applaud our state’s health and human services agencies for delivering on this pilot program and I hope to soon expand it throughout Connecticut.”

Participating families can have up to three at-home visits from a registered nurse and, if needed, from a specially trained community health worker, as well. The initial home visit occurs during the first couple of weeks after a baby is born, which is a critical time for parents and babies to receive health screenings. Services offered include new baby check-ups; physical and emotional wellness exams; education about bathing, feeding, sleeping, and safety; lactation support; and connections to any resources that are needed, such as diaper banks, health care programs, and food nutrition assistance programs.

Connecticut Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Dr. Deidre Gifford said, “Family Bridge uses a proven model that has been shown to reduce infant mortality, post-partum depression and better health outcomes for moms and babies. However, we know that social determinants of health have a great impact in our health, and that is why our program is inclusive of community health workers to facilitate referrals for families in need of other social supports and resources including assistance with diapers, food and housing. Together, nurses and community health workers provide a comprehensive assessment to families in this pilot. We encourage parents in the served regions to take advantage of this benefit.”

Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye said, “This has been a true cross-agency partnership. Probably because of that cross-agency alignment, this has the opportunity to have the largest and longest lasting impact of all the programs that have been launched or enhanced through COVID funding. This will have a generational impact on the well-being of parents and children in Connecticut. Early interventions like this are proven to support physical and emotional health in ways that are lasting. We will learn from our experience in Bridgeport as the rollout moves to Norwich, where planning is wrapping up and implementation is just around the corner. We look forward to learning the unique needs specific to both rural and urban communities to address inequities and disparities.”

Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said, “The Connecticut Department of Public Health is proud to support and collaborate with our sister state agencies on this important program. This program is supporting expanding families by ensuring they have all the resources and information they may need to achieve good health at this wonderful time of their lives. While we still have work to do in addressing health inequities, the years the Lamont administration has invested in creating the Family Bridge pilot program is making a significant difference in our communities.”

Connecticut Department of Social Services Commissioner Andrea Baron Reeves said, “There is no more vulnerable time for a family than the first few days a baby is brought home from the hospital, and we are thrilled to be able to team up for this initiative. Anything we can do to help families get acclimated and adjust to the wonder of bringing a child into this world is priceless.”

Connecticut Department of Children and Families Commissioner Jodi Hill-Lilly said, “We recognize that for anyone caring for a newborn, this can be one of the most challenging times in their journey through parenting. It takes the collaborative efforts of the community – a village – to support families so they in turn can support resilient children who thrive. Together, let’s raise awareness so that parents – of any means – know they have access to these resources upon discharge from the hospital.”

Bridgeport Hospital President Anne Diamond said, “Bridgeport Hospital is a leader in providing high quality, equitable care to everyone in our community and region. The Family Bridge pilot program adds another critical layer in our approach to delivering the right care at the right time and we are grateful to Governor Lamont and his staff for their support.”

Bianca Charles, a mother who recently gave birth at Bridgeport Hospital and is participating in the program, said, “I’m very grateful to have experienced the Family Bridge program and how resourceful it has been. There is great comfort knowing that as a mom of a growing family, someone is still thinking of me and prioritizing all aspects of my health. It is also reassuring as a Connecticut resident that Governor Lamont and his administration have a great awareness of what’s important to Connecticut families.”

For additional information on Family Bridge, families can visit ctoec.org/family-bridge or call 203-502-4850.