Federal grant has more money and longer time

A federal grant to expand Anoka County’s maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting program has increased both in dollars received and in the length of the grant period.

In late November, the Anoka County Board, on the recommendation of its Human Services Committee, approved a grant totaling $80,610 from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) through its federal allocation from the time period Dec. 15, 2012 through March 30.

But subsequent to that action, the state health department expanded both the contract term and the grant amount.

Now the county is receiving up to $863,610 for a grant period that runs through March 30, 2015.

With the money to expand the home visiting program, the county board approved the hiring of three full-time public health nurses and a three-quarter time public health nurse supervisor.

Those positions will now continue through the new term of the grant, March 30, 2015, instead of ending March 30 this year.

The county board took action at its last meeting of 2012 to approve the new dollar figure and the expanded length of the grant period.

According to information provided to the county board by Laurel Hoff, county director of the community health and environmental services department, MDH received $8 million per year for three years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting.

For the grant, MDH had to complete a statewide needs assessment focusing on 15 risk factors in three categories – maternal and newborn health, injury and economic self-sufficiency, Hoff wrote in her report.

Anoka County was awarded the grant dollars because it ranked in the top 10 statewide in all three categories, she wrote.

The county will use two evidence-based models to target the at-risk population. They are the nurse-family partnership and healthy families America models, Hoff wrote.

“Evidence-based family home visiting models have proven that for every public health dollar invested a return of up to $5.70 can be expected in savings to programs including Medicaid and food support,” she wrote.

As part of the grant program, four existing county public health nurses will be trained in the healthy families America model and one in the nurse family partnership, according to Hoff.

The public health supervisor will coordinate and provide program development and evaluation as well as supervision, while the new public health nurses will support the transition of family health activities, she wrote.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]