(Memphis) There's a new program in Tennessee to ensure babies make it to their first birthday and reduce the infant mortality rate. It's all about getting personal with those who need it the most.
Tennessee’s Welcome Baby initiative will be sending community health workers into the homes of families who are considered high risk for infant mortality.
“Are you receiving WIC right now,” asked Johnarekoe King with the Shelby County Health Department. King is working to meet with at least 6 mothers a week to offer advice and information about existing programs.
News Channel 3 was there as King met with new mom Monique Harden. Harden has a one month old son Terrell. She says she has the support of her family but now she also has help from King.
“If you need childcare get in touch with me and let me know. We also have another resource for your baby to attend childcare,” said King about one resource Monique said she would need once she goes back to work.
Just rolling out in the past few weeks, the goal of Tennessee’s Welcome Baby Initiative is to help mom's in what can be a stressful time.
“Everybody wanted me to breast feed but it was just something that I couldn`t do,” said Harden to King.
“They look at if they can benefit from the nutritional services, parenting skills, the whole bevy of services that`s available to a family that`s just starting with a new born baby,” said program director Howard Richardson about how they decide which moms they will meet with.
They're focused on those considered at high risk of infant mortality: Teen moms, single parents and those living in poverty.
“I will do a call back to you when you baby gets three months, six months, eight months, at 12 months, I’ll do another home visit with you,” said King before wrapping up her visit.
The state of Tennessee is spending over a million each year on the program. It's funded through 2016, but could be extended if successful.