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New Legislation Aims to Protect Newborns, Expectant Mothers

Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar signed on as co-sponsor of H.R. 4768, the Home Visiting to Reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Act, legislation that would add $200 million in federal funding over the next three years for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. With this bill, the program will increase home visiting for expectant mothers and their children with the aim of lowering maternal mortality rates in the United States. “Maternal mortality ravages families and communities because new mothers and their children do not have access to education, support and resources which would place them on a path to success,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This legislation will provide valuable funding to home visitation programs that encourage positive parenting skills, early learning, and protections from domestic violence and substance abuse. As a member of Congress, I am committed to ensuring expectant mothers in South Texas and across the United States receive the proper care they need to build a good foundation for raising their children. I want to thank Congressman Danny Davis for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working to pass this legislation and ensuring our mothers and their children receive the care they deserve.” “H.R. 4768, which will add more resources for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program that will make a difference in addressing the rising rates of maternal mortality and life-threatening pregnancy complications, particularly in Texas. Although we are fortunate that in Laredo we don’t have a significant maternal mortality rate we have extensive late prenatal care that put mother and child at risk of positive birth outcomes, our Nurse Home Visitation Program (NFP) has made a positive impact with first time mothers accessing prenatal, postpartum interconception and well-baby care to ensure a better quality of life,” said Dr. Hector F. Gonzalez Director of Health for the City of Laredo Health Department. H.R. 4768- The Home Visiting to Reduce maternal Mortality and Morbidity Act The legislation will double the federal government’s investment in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program by 2022 in an effort to reach more of the 18 million families that would benefit from home visiting. Currently, only about 150,000 families are reached by the program. The program provides a variety of services for expectant and new mothers, including:

  • Positive parenting skills and child interactions

  • Promotion of early learning in the home to stimulate language development

  • Information and resources on all aspects of childcare, including breastfeeding, safe sleep practices, injury prevention, and nutrition.

  • Screenings and referrals for those families struggling with substance abuse, postpartum depression, and domestic violence

  • Providing resources for those children born with developmental disabilities


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