News Department

Gov. Murphy signs landmark legislation to improve New Jersey’s maternal and infant health outcomes

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Thursday signed landmark legislation to improve New Jersey’s maternal and infant health outcomes for all New Jersey families.

The bill (S690) establishes a statewide universal newborn home visitation program in the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, advancing New Jersey as a national model for maternal and infant care.

New Jersey will have the most comprehensive and robust universal home visitation program in the nation, as it will provide a registered nurse to conduct home visits for all mothers and newborns within two weeks of birth, and serves both adoptive and resource parents, as well as those families who experience stillbirths.

The program will be at no cost to the family. Home visits will feature an evidence-based evaluation of the physical, emotional, and social factors affecting parents and their newborn including physical and mental health wellness checks, breastfeeding support and reproductive planning, environmental assessments of the home, and assessments for social determinants of health, such as food security, transportation access, childcare planning, and employment to ensure families have their needs identified and met.

In January 2021, First Lady Tammy Murphy unveiled the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, which aims to reduce maternal mortality in the state by 50 percent over five years and eliminate the racial disparities in birth outcomes, in which a universal home visitation program was a key recommendation of the strategy.

“Home visiting programs have tremendous benefits for mothers, infants, and families,” Murphy said. “Research has shown that these programs not only decrease infant and maternal mortality, but also improve mental health, increase child educational attainment, decrease abuse and neglect, and strengthen family success and economic growth. This universal home visiting program is a critical step forward in making our state stronger and fairer for all families, giving them the tools and supports they need for success and resilience, and ensuring New Jersey remains the best place to start and raise a family.”

“As we work to combat New Jersey’s Black maternal and infant health crisis through Nurture NJ, we know that those first weeks post-partum are absolutely critical in determining maternal and infant health outcomes,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Through this universal home visiting program, we are making clear to all New Jersey families that their health, wellness, and development are our highest priority, beginning with birth. For three years, Nurture NJ has been moving steadily ahead in our mission to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. This new initiative does more than accelerate our progress, it explicitly tackles equity, enables wraparound care and directly launches us to the forefront of maternal health care.”

Primary sponsors of the legislation include Senators Teresa Ruiz and Joseph Vitale, and Assemblymembers Shanique Speight, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and John Armato.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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