Thrive By Three Fund: An Important Approach to Reduce Infant Mortality in Prince George’s County

Proposed legislation in the Maryland General Assembly could mean improved service coordination for low-income pregnant women and young children in Maryland. The Resource Center supports SB912 and HB 1685 – a “Thrive By Three Fund” (also known as Maryland Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Services Grant Program Fund) for prenatal and infant care.

Maryland’s infant mortality rates are high, and Prince George’s County infant mortality rates are higher than the national average and higher than other Maryland counties. Making sure infants make it past their first birthdays is a high priority.  While we can’t eliminate every risk factor, there are many that can be eliminated.

There are good programs that attempt to serve at-risk pregnant women and mothers who have recently given birth. The Resource Center offers a variety of services to support new moms who have been determined to be at risk of neglecting or even abusing their children, but we can’t do it all. The coordination of such services can prove challenging because of program rules and funding limitations.  After a child’s birth, care coordination identifies and integrates supports for both mother and baby, which can range from home visiting and evaluation for maternal depression to intervention related to developmental delays and linkages to insurance and nutrition programs.

The passing of SB912 and HB 1685 can help fill coordination gaps. “Care coordination” links pregnant women to services that support a healthy pregnancy with the goal of reducing poor birth outcomes, such as premature birth, low birth weight, and infant mortality.

Good news: the legislation passed in the Maryland Senate! Advocates, thank you for calling Senator Joanne Benson and Senator Jim Rosapepe in March! These two Senators represent parts of Prince George’s County and each have a seat on the Senate Finance Committee which considered and approved this legislation and sent the bill forward for a vote in the Senate

Action continues in the House. The Resource Center submitted testimony to the House Health and Government Operations Committee. In her testimony, Jennifer shared “(HB 1685) will give our newest community members the best welcome to the world, and will give their moms access to supports so that families thrive”. Another hearing is scheduled for April 3.

Posted on 3/30/2018