State Receives $6.4 M in Federal Funding to Expand Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Services

Baltimore, MD (September 16, 2013) - The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced today that the DHMH Office of Family Planning and Home Visiting has been awarded a two year $6.4 million “Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) Expansion” grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The aim of the grant is to expand the availability of home visiting programs to improve outcomes and reduce health and developmental disparities for at risk expectant families and families with young children. Maryland is one of 13 states to receive this competitive award which is renewable for another year. For the last three years, Maryland has also received an annual MIECHV formula grant of $1.3 million.

"Since 2008, we’ve saved the lives of 368 babies by reducing the infant mortality rate by 21 percent. None of this happened by chance. These lives were saved because we made better choices to care for moms and babies. But there is still more work to be done, and this new grant will allow us to provide services to more mothers and babies, and to save even more lives," said Governor Martin O'Malley.

Key goals of the Maryland MIECHV Program are to reduce infant mortality, improve maternal and child mental health, and promote school readiness. Maryland recently announced that its 2012 infant death rate is at a current record low of 6.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Several of the MIECHV supported home visiting programs focus on helping to ensure that women have a healthy pregnancy.

“We are pleased to receive these funds to continue our work with mothers, babies and families, said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, DHMH Secretary. "This funding will help save lives."

Maryland intends to use these new funds to expand the availability of home visiting programs in areas of greatest need in the State and to strengthen the infrastructure to support these programs. Plans also include working with local universities and others to establish a Training Institute for home visitors, developing a home visiting management information system, conducting quality improvement processes, and evaluating program activities.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to offer support to additional women, children and families in need of home visiting services in Maryland,” said Anne Sheridan, Executive Director, Governor’s Office for Children.

Authorized under the Affordable Care Act, the MIECHV Program provides grants to states to deliver critical health, development, early learning and family support services to eligible women, children and families who enroll voluntarily. Trained home visitors work with families in their home and provide screening, education, support and referral services to eligible families according to protocols documented in federally approved evidence based models by the Program. The length of family enrollment and the number of home visits varies by program model. For many families, services begin during pregnancy and continue throughout early childhood up to age 3.

“These awards support states in their efforts to expand and improve home visiting support services for our most vulnerable children and families. These competitive awards recognize states that have implemented a high-quality, evidence-based home visiting program as part of a comprehensive, early childhood system of care,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Since the MIECHV Program was enacted in 2010, it’s been implemented in 544 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories to serve about 15,000 families. HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) partners with HRSA to implement the MIECHV Program. For more information on home visiting, visit the HRSA Web site at: http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/homevisiting/.

The Office of Family Planning and Home Visiting focuses on improving the health women, children and families in Maryland. For more information on Office of Family Planning and Home Visiting including the MIECHV Program, please visit http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/mch/SitePages/Home.aspx.

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