The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) improves the health of all mothers, children and their families. The Bureau's programs reduce infant mortality; ensure access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care, improves health care for all children, and provides special programs for children with special health care needs.
The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant Program, authorized under Title V of the Social Security Act, improves the health of all mothers, children, and their families. These legislated responsibilities reduce health disparities, improve access to health care, and improve the quality of health care. Specifically, the Block Grant
MCHB also administers discretionary grant programs that focus on key issues in maternal and child health, support research, and train maternal and child health professionals. Some are featured below.
To reduce factors that contribute to the Nation’s high infant mortality rate, particularly among African-American and other minority groups, Healthy Start provides intensive services tailored to the needs of high risk pregnant women, infants and mothers in geographically, racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse low income communities with exceptionally high rates of infant mortality. Healthy Start helps these communities build resources and improve the quality of and access to health care for women and infants.
The James T. Walsh Universal Newborn Hearing Screening program, begun in 2000, has increased the percentage of newborns screened for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge (95 percent in 2005). The program also supports audiologic evaluation by 3 months of age and early intervention by 6 months of age with linkages for infants who need it.
The Emergency Medical Services for Children Program helps to ensure that all children and adolescents, no matter where they live, attend school, or travel, receive appropriate care in a health emergency. Since its establishment in 1984, the program has provided grant funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The program also operates two national resource centers.
The Sickle Cell Service Demonstration Program develops systemic mechanisms to prevent and treat sickle cell disease. In addition to coordinating care for individuals with the disease, the program developed programs that help families by providing genetic counseling, testing and education. The program also provides training for health care providers and generates data that will demonstrate the effectiveness of practice models.
Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, currently operating in all 50 states and the District of Columbua, help families of children with special health care needs make informed choices about health care and promote good treatment decisions, cost effectiveness and improved health outcomes. The centers provide information, training and guidance on caring for children with special health care needs and are staffed by families who have expertise in Federal and state public and private health care systems and by health providers.