HHS to Award $350M to Improve Maternal and Child Health Nationwide

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced nearly $350 million in awards to states to support safe pregnancies and healthy babies. The funding will expand home visiting services to families most in need, increase access to doulas, address health disparities in infant deaths, and improve data reporting on maternal mortality. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded these funds.

HRSA is investing in the following maternal and child health programs:

  • Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program – The MIECHV program is awarding $342 million in funding to 56 states, jurisdictions, and nonprofit organizations. These funds will support communities in providing critical home visiting services, including pregnancy education, parenting skill-building, and referrals to other community-based supports. As part of this award, California is slated to receive an additional $19 million to support MIECHV programming.
  • Health Start Initiative – The Healthy Start Initiative supports communities where the infant mortality rate is 1.5 times the national average. These projects work with women during pregnancy and after birth to help reduce infant death and severe maternal illness. Specific activities to be supported by the investment include:
  • Community-Based Doulas – More than $3 million in supplemental funding has been awarded to 25 Healthy Start grantees to increase the availability of doulas. Funding will cover the costs of training, certifying, and compensating doulas.
  • Infant Health Equity – More than $1.6 million in supplemental funding has been awarded to 21 Healthy Start grantees to help reduce disparities in infant mortality in regional areas with the highest number of non-Hispanic Black or non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native infant deaths. Awardees will use the funding to create local action plans to address conditions affecting infant mortality disparities.
  • State Systems Developmental Initiative (SSDI) – Approximately $600,000 in supplemental funding has been awarded to 10 grantees participating in the SSDI program. The funding will expand the capacity of states and jurisdictions to collect and report timely, high quality maternal health data to support health care quality improvement activities.

Additional information from HHS is available here.