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Diapers, Clothing, Car Seats

Stork's Nest and Family NestStork's and Family Next

VNS of Iowa's Stork’s Nest and Family Nest serve the needs of at-risk pregnant and parenting women and their families by providing participants the opportunity to earn points for healthy behaviors. The points are then redeemed toward needed items, such as diapers, clothing, strollers, cribs and car seats. Family Nest participants may also redeem points for needed household supplies such as laundry detergent, pots and pans, and dishwashing detergent.

To earn points, parents take healthy, proactive steps  ̶  such as breastfeeding, attending parenting classes, making regular doctor visits and continuing their education.

To learn if you or someone you know could participate in our Stork's or Family Nest programs, please call 558-9950.

Who’s eligible?                

  • Stork’s Nest is available to pregnant women who meet the program's income level criteria. Once enrolled, women may remain in the program through pregnancy and postpartum until of their baby is 12 months of age.
  • Family Nest is available to families enrolled in the Healthy Start & Empowerment program (families with a pregnant woman or child under the age of six) who meet the program's income level criteria. Once enrolled, participants may remain in the Family Nest as long as they are participating in the Healthy Start & Empowerment program.

Who are we serving?

In 2014 over 530 pregnant and parenting women were served:

  • Nearly 65% did not speak English as the primary language.
  • Approximately 16% were teenagers.
  • Over 86% of reporting clients had a healthy birth weight.

What impact are we making?

Last year 618,875 points were earned by program participants through healthy behaviors and redeemed for essential baby items including, but not limited to:

  • 557 packages of diapers, 88 cribs and 193 car seats
  • 52 participants attended one of three 8-week sessions of Stork’s Nest parenting classes
  • 49 participants attended one of three 8-week sessions of Stork’s Nest prenatal classes

How are we unique?

  • The Stork’s Nest is the only program of its kind in Polk County.
  • We are part of a national affiliation among the March of Dimes and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  • 22 community health and human service agencies work in collaboration with the Stork’s Nest.

A nationally affiliated program, Stork’s Nest was created in Polk County in 1993 as part of the community’s response to lower Des Moines’ high infant mortality rate.  In 1998, the Stork’s Nest became part of Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.