Category: Early Starts
Improving Maternal and Infant Health in Michigan: The Potential of Universal Home Visiting Outreach
Helen Joa, Megan Foster Friedman, Robin Jacob, Melisa Schuster
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
In Michigan, the infant mortality rate is 17% higher than the national rate.” Page 4