Louisiana faces dire fiscal straits, and the state Legislature has the difficult task of prioritizing what services are essential to the well-being of Louisiana families.

For 12 years, Louisiana has made smart investments in Nurse-Family Partnership, which pairs registered nurses with first-time, low-income moms from early in pregnancy until their babies are 2 years old.

Last fiscal year, nearly 400 Baton Rouge-area moms received approximately 3,900 home visits from NFP nurses.

More than 30 years of research shows that NFP helps improve pregnancy outcomes, child health and development, and families’ economic self-sufficiency.

Independent analyses have found that NFP helps women reach their education and work goals, reduces costly emergency room visits and criminal justice system involvement, and increases school readiness.

A RAND Corp. study found that for every $1 invested in NFP, up to $5.70 can be saved in government spending on health care, education and social services. Yet NFP faces a $1 million cut from the Department of Children & Family Services budget, because of an amendment to House Bill 1.

Professionally, I have more than 20 years of experience in health care and social work. In my opinion, this is THE most proven and cost-effective service being provided that gives taxpayers a good return on our investment.

As we face challenging times, we must keep our commitments to investing in proven, cost-effective services for Louisiana families and communities.

Laurinda Calongne

health-care consultant

Baton Rouge