While the study on the New Mexico First Born program relies on a statistically small sample – just 138 newborns – the results could turn the tide not only for New Mexico families and taxpayers, but for their counterparts across the country. Because not having 138 newborns spend much of their first year unnecessarily in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices improves the physical and financial health of families and the public.
The New Mexico First Born program was founded in Silver City in 1997 and has since been replicated in 16 other New Mexico counties. Funded by various private grants, the cost-effective program provides home visits to first-born children and their parents for one year to promote healthy child development.
It is a sad commentary that much of what First Born provides is the old-fashioned common sense and experience that grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and others historically shared with first-time moms and dads. Yet it is essential to fill that void if New Mexico is going to break its ongoing cycle of non-parenting that expects government to provide nearly everyone cradle-to-grave social programs.
The program does that at a cost of about $3,400 a year per child.