New bill could offer home visits for newborn babies and mothers

MEDFORD, Ore. — A new proposed law under consideration in Salem could offer home visits for newborn babies and their mothers.

If passed, Oregon Senate Bill 526 would offer direct care for families who wanted to participate.

A nurse would visit the mother and child in the hospital and then at home when the baby is three weeks old.

If the family allows it, the nurse would then do a standardized assessment across 12 domains including health checkups, housing security, domestic violence, and mental health.  The family would then be offered available resources in the community.

Democratic Senator Steiner Hayward from Multnomah and Washington counties said the program would vary for each community and would be tailored to each family.

“You have to make sure that you have properly trained nurses in each community…you have to make sure that those nurses know exactly what community resources are available,” Senator Hayward said.  “This is really about helping families thrive and not about imposing any kind of mandatory intervention,” she added.

Senator Hayward wants to phase in the project over a period of six years. It wouldn’t start until July 2020.
She aims to have the whole state covered by 2025.

Some people have expressed concerns about government oversight or surveillance.

Senator Hayword said it is mportant to note it is optional.

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