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N.C. Public Health Receives $1.7 Million Grant for Outreach to Young Mothers

Release Date: October 1, 2010
Contact: Julie Henry,  919-707-5053

RALEIGH — The N.C. Division of Public Health has been awarded $1.7 million for programs to support pregnant and parenting teens and young women.  The grant, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is part of a $27 million initiative created by the Affordable Care Act to help fund a seamless network of supportive services to assist pregnant and parenting teens and women in completing high school or postsecondary degrees and gaining access to health care, child care, family housing, and other critical support. 

“This funding goes beyond health services to address some of the underlying issues that lead to our state’s ongoing struggle with infant mortality and low birth weight children,” State Health Director Jeff Engel said.  “We know that healthy babies depend on healthy mothers.”

Four to six counties will be selected for participation in the three-year program based on an application process that will begin later this fall.  Applicants, including local health departments and/or community agencies, must establish a community-based advisory council to assist in developing a plan of action and ensure that the program incorporates outreach to underserved young women. 

“Programs will be run at the local level, utilizing services that will work in those particular communities,” Dr. Kevin Ryan, head of the Division’s Women’s and Children’s Services section, said.   “One community may decide to enhance an existing service, while another may choose to try something new.  There is room for flexibility and creativity, so long as programs are addressing the needs.”

North Carolina programs must include reproductive life planning, tobacco cessation, counseling on healthy weight, early utilization of prenatal care, establishing a medical home for non-pregnant women, and domestic violence prevention.  Integration of evidence-based home visiting programs into local communities will be a cornerstone of the projects.