The Bridging Program was designed by the CCC. Bridging supports families who have infants or young children with multiple needs and/or women with high-risk pregnancies. The program is delivered by trained Infant and Family Support Specialists (IFSS) who are staff members of partner agencies of the Community Caring Collaborative (CCC). The model, a promising practice nationally, has been considered by the state of Maine to support all babies born in Maine with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and could be delivered by health and home visiting professionals statewide who are trained through the CCC’s Infant Family Support Specialist curriculum.

In Washington County, the model of Bridging specifically designed for medically fragile infants and young children is offered through Downeast Community Partners. Washington County Nurse Bridging utilizes Registered Nurses to deliver and coordinate supports for infants that are born pre-term, are being treated for medical issues in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, have high medical risk factors, or have medical or developmental issues, as well as parents with medical needs and additional issues in other domains.

The program offers:

  • Support, education, and advocacy related to services needed by a child and their family.
  • Wraparound planning emphasizing family-driven, strengths-based supports.
  • Individualized plans that create a family team to address issues and concerns in order to meet the needs of the child and the parents.
  • Access to early intervention such as home visiting programs, nursing supports, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, assessment, developmental therapy, family support services, and parent education.
  • Identification of natural supports to help the family and child achieve their goals.

Services may include:

  • Going with parent(s) to Eastern Maine Medical Center to visit the NICU before the delivery.
  • Helping parents get information about conditions that may affect their baby.
  • Visiting and supporting the parents and child while they are in the hospital.
  • Accompanying parents to meetings with doctors or other direct service provides to establish plans regarding their child.
  • Developing a plan for ongoing supports and services that address parents’ concerns, strengths, and unique family needs.
  • Arranging for assessments or other services as needed by the infant and family.
  • Advocating for the child and family across systems to improve outcomes.

Services continue for as long as they are needed.

Anyone can make a referral: medical provider, social worker, family member, or parents. To make a referral for Washington County Nurse Bridging: