New parents holding their newborn baby

An Opportunity To Highlight Universal Newborn Support Systems

Start Early has created a messaging toolkit to support a diverse group of program, policy, and other champions to build awareness and support for expanding universal newborn support systems (UNSS).

Kayla Goldfarb March 21, 2023
  • Policy and Systems
  • Blog

When welcoming a new baby, all parents and families–regardless of zip code or family income–could benefit from additional encouragement and support. We know it takes a village to raise a child, but in the early weeks and months of a child’s life, it can often be difficult for parents to navigate and connect to various health, early care and learning, and other services and resources.

UNSS approaches may look different depending on local contexts, but typically, a nurse home visitor, community health worker, or other trained professional will connect with families at the hospital shortly after birth and offer to visit families in their homes at around three weeks following childbirth. During this visit, the UNSS home visitor will complete a brief maternal and infant health screening and talk with the family to identify interest in any additional supportive services, including medical care, household needs, early childhood education, emotional supports, or other community resources.

While universal newborn support services are common in other high-income nations, it is still an emerging concept in the U.S. Scaling UNSS in Illinois will require cohesive messaging to build greater awareness and support for these services and systems, which is why Start Early was given the opportunity to develop a toolkit of resources to build awareness of UNSS interventions.


Access the Toolkit

Fact sheets & videos intended to support advocates, state leaders, family-facing providers and lawmakers in communicating the critical importance of UNSS

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The resources contained in this toolkit are intended to support advocates, state systems leaders, UNSS program leaders, other family-facing providers, and lawmaker champions in communicating the story of UNSS, including explaining why these services are critically important to the future well-being of Illinois families and children. We hope that the resources can serve as a jumping-off point for various stakeholders to build upon the messages and materials within for outreach with additional audiences. Ultimately, we hope these general public awareness materials could be useful to other tables in orienting new audiences to UNSS to drive toward 1) public support for investment (including private and other funding) in scaling UNSS; 2) parent and family awareness of existing services and opportunities to inform growth of UNSS services; and 3) community awareness and interest in launching new UNSS sites.

About the Author

Kayla Goldfarb

Kayla Goldfarb

Policy Manager, Start Early

Kayla Goldfarb is a policy manager with the Illinois Policy Team and primarily focuses on home visiting where she provides staffing support to the Illinois Home Visiting Task Force.

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