Operated out of a local church, Stork's Nest is a program of the Siouxland District Health Department designed to promote healthy babies and is sponsored by the Omaha chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Stork's Nest's goal is to encourage women who have high-risk pregnancies to take good care of themselves and their babies before and after pregnancy. The women are encouraged through an incentive and educational program where points are earned for positive pre-and post-natal care. The points earned by the mothers may be redeemed at an incentive "store" for items such as diapers, bathtubs, bottles, baby wipes, baby clothes, strollers and cribs.
Women enrolled in Stork's Nest earn incentive points in a variety of ways—by attending Stork's Nest educational classes, getting regular checkups for themselves and their babies, abstaining from alcohol and drugs and pursuing their education. A woman can earn points until her child is 15 months old and can redeem them until the child's second birthday. Should a father become the primary provider after a child is born, he may also participate and earn points.
Offered each Wednesday in both English and Spanish, the classes cover the basics of prenatal health, childbirth and delivery, as well as how to care for a newborn baby. In addition to the core prenatal and childbirth courses, courses are also offered on topics such as infant and child safety, how and where to use car seats, classes on oral hygiene, legal issues for tenants, housing issues, speech and language development, poison and burn prevention and more.
Since opening in 1993, Stork's Nest has served more than 2,000 women who have high-risk pregnancy factors and has made a positive difference in the health and welfare of children in Siouxland.
Stork's Nest of Siouxland is supported by a partnership of four Sioux City agencies concerned with children's health. The United Way of Siouxland, Siouxland District Health Department and Sioux City's two hospitals—Marian Health Center and St. Luke's Regional Medical Center—are working together to support Stork's Nest of Siouxland. Through the new partnership, the organizations fund a full-time facilitator position to organize and oversee classes, draw more women into the program, operate the incentive store and apply for grants. The store is stocked entirely by grants and donations from the community.