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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration

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MCHB at a Glance
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Maternal & Child Health Bureau

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. 

Title V Block Grant

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 

  • assures access to quality care, especially for those with low-incomes or limited availability of care;
  • reduces infant mortality; 
  • provides and ensures access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care to women (especially low-income and at risk pregnant women); 
  • increases the number of children receiving health assessments and follow-up diagnostic and treatment services; 
  • provides and ensures access to preventive and child care services as well as rehabilitative services for certain children;
  • implements family-centered, community-based, systems of coordinated care for children with special health care needs; and
  • provides toll-free hotlines and assistance in applying for service to pregnant women with infants and children who are eligible for Medicaid.

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.

Healthy Start

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.

Universal Newborn Hearing Screening

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.

Emergency Medical Services for Children

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.

Sickle Cell Services 

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 

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.

Did You Know?
  • Title V of the Social Security Act, which authorized HRSA's Maternal and Child Health programs, is the only Federal legislation dedicated to promoting and improving the health of our nation's mothers and children.
  • Enacted by Congress in 1935, Title V's roots,go back to the 1912 creation of the Children's Bureau, whose goal was: "To serve all children, to try to work out standards of care and protection which shall give to every child fair chance in the world."
  • More than 40 million pregnant women, children and others were served through the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant to States in 2008.
  • In addition to the Block Grant, MCHB makes more than 900 discretionary grants each year.