April 18, 2007
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Nurse Family Partnership

Like a tiny tornado, Andrew Taylor rumbled through the playground and into the parking lot of a small apartment complex here. The 15-month-old ducked under a parked truck and grabbed an empty cola cup. “Doesn’t that kind of worry you?” Crystal Towne, a public health nurse, asked Taylor’s 19-year-old mother, Ramona, as they sat at a picnic table nearby. “I wish they had a gate around the playground. It’s worries me that he can get out into the parking lot or the street that easily.” Ramona Taylor walked over and picked up her son, balancing the boy on the hip of her low-rise jeans. “It seems like he knows he has no medical insurance,” Ramona Taylor said. “He’ll do crazy things like stand up on the table.” Yakima County has a vested interest in the development of Andrew Taylor. By Andrew’s 2nd birthday, the county will have spent about $5,500 on the toddler through an intensive program known as the Nurse-Family Partnership. The program, which sends public health nurses into the homes of poor, first-time mothers, has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective child welfare programs. It’s also one of its most expensive.

The Spokesman-Review
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