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.