Title V of the Social Security Act celebrates 75th anniversary

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Longest lasting public health legislation builds on legacy of maternal and child health care

Rockville, MD, October 20, 2010 – For 75 years the fight to promote and improve the health, safety and well-being of mothers, children, youth and families has been the cornerstone of Title V of the Social Security Act.  Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Title V celebrates its 75th anniversary as the Nation’s first and oldest Federal-State partnership.

Through Title V, the Federal government funds formula-based grants to states to assist them in addressing the specific needs of their maternal and child populations.  Title V-supported programs provide critical gap-filling prenatal health services to 2.5 million women, as well as primary and preventive health care to more than 29 million children, including 1.8 million children with special health needs.  Title V-funded grants also build State and community-level capacity and systems.  In addition to the State Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, Title V supports discretionary grants that further enhance the delivery of maternal and child health services nationwide. 

On the 75th anniversary of this landmark legislation, HRSA will engage its state and local partners, families and professional associations in strategic planning efforts to implement the Life Course, Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity Theoretical Models that will provide a new working framework for maternal and child health services.. 

“Looking to the future, it is vital to the posterity of our Nation that we are proactive about preventive care for mothers and children over the life span,” said Dr. Peter van Dyck, Associate Administrator of MCHB at HRSA.  

The ability of Title V and its programs to change with the times has been a linchpin of its longstanding success.  “We have seen enormous societal and environmental changes since the passage of Title V in 1935,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.  “For example, today, we are addressing issues such as bullying and childhood obesity; over time, the ability for Title V to adapt will ensure its role as one of the most pivotal and effective healthcare legislations in our Nation’s history.”

Title V-supported Maternal and Child Health Block Grant funds totaled $662 million in Federal Fiscal Year 2010.  In addition, HRSA funds more than 900 discretionary grants each year.  These block and discretionary grants support vital immunizations and newborn screening tests, services that improve access to care, community-based care systems for children with special needs, and more.  Additionally, HRSA supports training for the next generation of leaders in maternal and child health.  Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary, family-centered, culturally-competent care with a population-focused, public health approach.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the passage of Title V, HRSA will host “Title V of the Social Security Act: Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Future” on October 20, 2010 in Washington, D.C.  The event features a series of panels on critical and timely health topics, such as the Life Course perspective, advancing the medical home concept, home visitation programs, bullying, the evolution of training, newborn screening and a look to the future of maternal and child health.  Distinguished speakers at the anniversary event include:

Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., Administrator, HRSA

  • Peter C. van Dyck, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Administrator, MCHB
  • Jennifer Howse, Ph.D., President, March of Dimes Foundation
  • Michael Fraser, Ph.D., C.A.E., CEO, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
  • O. Marion Burton, M.D., F.A.A.P., President, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Lanetta Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., Chief Medical Officer, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
  • James Roosevelt, Jr., President and CEO, Tufts Health Plan
  • Tonya Lewis Lee, J.D., Author and Producer, spokesperson for A Healthy Baby Begins with You infant mortality campaign
  • Alice Cahn, Vice President of Social Responsibility, Cartoon Network

The 75th anniversary event will culminate with a call to action, followed by an awards ceremony and reception.  MCHB also encourages community-level celebrations to honor local programs that are producing results while helping Title V remain effective year after year.


The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  HRSA is the primary Federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable.  For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit www.hrsa.gov.

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2017