Ky. program for parents improves children's health

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Recent studies show a Kentucky program that works with needy parents improves the health and development of their children.

Health Access Nurturing Development Services, or HANDS, started as a pilot program in 1998 as a way to combat child abuse.

Now the program is in all 120 Kentucky counties and has served more than 60,000 families since 2000.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (http://bit.ly/ViIJQY) research at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville has found that HANDS participants have 32 percent fewer pre-term births than similar populations. They also have a 70 percent lower overall infant mortality and 50 percent fewer emergency room visits.

Babies in the program have fewer developmental delays. And mothers are more likely to complete or further their education and to breast-feed their babies.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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