Category: Early Starts

Improving Maternal and Infant Health in Michigan: The Potential of Universal Home Visiting Outreach

Author(s):
Helen Joa, Megan Foster Friedman, Robin Jacob, Melisa Schuster
Key Findings:
  1. Home visiting programs have demonstrated numerous benefits for pregnant
    women, new parents, and infants. Most new parents can benefit from extra help
    and support when bringing a new baby into the world. All families should have
    access to the types of supports home visiting provides if they need it.
  2. While most maternal-infant home visiting programs target services to specific
    socioeconomic or demographic groups, a universal approach that provides
    screening and needed services to all women may improve awareness, potentially
    improve maternal and infant health, and signal that home visiting is the standard
    of care for all new mothers.
  3. Several universal approaches to home visiting operate in other regions of
    the United States and have demonstrated promising impacts on parenting
    behaviors, connections to social services, and health care use.
  4. A number of states have passed legislation encouraging universal approaches
    to home visiting, including Hawaii, Maine, and Oregon, which recently passed
    legislation encouraging statewide expansion of an existing universal home
    visiting program. However, no state as large as Michigan has taken a universal
    home visiting model to scale thus far.
  5. Michigan provides an promising context for piloting a universal approach to
    home visiting screening, assessment, and referral to test whether it reaches
    more women with pregnancy-related risk factors, and shows population-level
    impacts on infant and maternal mortality.
  6. However, a key to ensuring the success of such programs will be identifying
    appropriate funding and bolstering community capacity. Other states and
    localities have leveraged a variety of funding streams to help support similar
    initiatives.
In Michigan, the infant mortality rate is 17% higher than the national rate.” Page 4