TULSA, OK – [May 31, 2017] – When Tulsan Tera Pogue first found out she was pregnant with her son, she was 18 years old and a senior in high school. She was scared, nervous and unsure of what to do.
Thanks to a statewide program piloted in 1997 with funding from state appropriations, Pogue was connected to a local nurse who empowered her to care for herself and her son.
“Even though I have an amazing family, I still had anxiety about becoming a mother. I heard about the Children First program through my doctor’s office and applied to have a nurse assigned to me,” said Pogue. “My nurse was fun, kind, and welcomed me into the program with open arms. She encouraged me to continue going to school and I graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA.”
Children First is a family-centered program that utilizes home visits by registered nurses to help first-time mothers and their families prepare for parenthood through home visits, education and health assessments. Mothers receive information about promoting a healthy, safe lifestyle for their family while gaining a greater understanding of the types of help and resources available to them in the community. Regular home visits occur until the child is two years old and graduates out of the program.
“First-time mothers need to be supported and educated,” said Pogue. “The Children First program provided that education and comfort for me. Without the program, I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to keep going. I have a healthy, active son, and I am forever grateful for the program.”
Children First utilizes the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) model to improve pregnancy outcomes, promote the health of young children, and break the cycle of poverty.
“Because of the positive support my nurse provided during my time in the program, I felt empowered to go to college. In April 2007, I started taking online classes and in March of 2012, I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration. Being a college graduate opened doors for me to make a better life for myself and my son,” said Pogue.
Pogue now works as a health educator at Youth Services of Tulsa and helps others access health care and empowers young people to make good decisions.
Oklahoma was the first state to institute the NFP model statewide. In communities around the country, the NFP model has been proven to work with results showing significantly improved prenatal health, fewer subsequent pregnancies, increased maternal employment, decreased childhood injuries, neglect and abuse, and improvement in the child’s school readiness.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Children First in Oklahoma, which has served 44,635 clients across the state since inception. In Tulsa County, 8,790 mothers have been served by the program over the past 20 years, ultimately benefiting multiple generations.
For more information on how to enroll in the Children First program please visit tulsa-health.org.