There may be some controversial matters at the next Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, July 18, but there’s one thing all the commissioners are expected to agree on – that the county should happily accept a $172,000 grant that will fund four new Health Department positions, at least for a limited period of time.

The Guilford County’s Health Department is receiving the grant from the Duke Endowment for the continued support and expansion of the Guilford Family Connects Evidence Based Nurse Home Visitation Program.

That’s part of the department’s Get Ready Guilford Initiative. That initiative is geared toward improving outcomes for children in Guilford County and their families through a very broad-based and long-term approach that hits on many aspects of development for newborns.

The Duke Endowment, which is based out of Charlotte, was created by James Buchanan Duke, a well-known industrialist and philanthropist who helped establish Duke University.  He set up that endowment in 1924 with $40 million and, one year later in 1925, it was expanded with an additional $67 million from his estate.

The Guilford Family Connects Nurse Home Visiting Program, which will be the beneficiary of the grant, offers nurse home visits to all Guilford County families with newborns.  Those visits provide support and education for families –as well as an identification of, and referrals for, any health and safety concerns.

This grant will provide funding for four new Health Department positions through the end of calendar year 2019: a nurse/supervisor, a nurse specialist, a community health consultant and a senior office specialist.

The expansion of the program will mean that the department will have the capability to reach 6,000 newborns in the county in the coming months in order to improve developmental outcomes for infants – leading, hopefully, to academic success in kindergarten and later in life.