On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a measure that creates a universal home nurse visitation program, guaranteeing every new parent up to three in-home visits by a registered nurse. All parents will be entitled to the visits regardless of income, insurance, ZIP code and at no cost. The state will mandate the first visit within the first two weeks after delivery. This also includes adoptive parents and those who have experienced a stillbirth.
New Jersey is just the second state in the country to adopt such a law. At the bill signing, Murphy said the initiative is part of a larger plan to reduce maternal mortality rates; New Jersey has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, nearly double the national average. Black mothers are seven times more likely to die from birth-related complications than white mothers. Research shows in-home nursing visits decrease infant and maternal mortality while also improving mental health, decreasing abuse and neglect.