Maternal & Child Health Program


The Harris County Public Health Maternal & Child Health Program was established to reduce risks and empower expectant persons to create a foundation for a healthy family by:

  • Enrolling families to receive one-on-one in-home support (up to three years) to ensure a healthy birth and family growth journey.
  • Improving the well-being and self-sufficiency of participants through a holistic care coordinated approach by enrolling in ACCESS Harris County.

The Maternal & Child Health Program will be an affiliate of Healthy Families America which is an evidence-based home visiting model focused on incorporating a wide range of tools proven to help cultivate healthy parent-child relationships.

How Our Program Works 

As Harris County Public Health continues to develop the infrastructure and resources to address these disproportionate health disparities and improve the child mortality rates in Harris County, our program's vision is to provide the following resources:

  • Home visiting support
  • Parent-child relationship building
  • Transportation vouchers
With linkage to:
  • Counseling and mental health services
  • Substance use disorder services
  • Job placement support
  • Prenatal care
  • Food Asssitance
  • Education advancement assistance
State of the Problem

“Among black women, national and state-level studies consistently found higher pregnancy-related mortality risks, even when controlling for factors such as insurance coverage, marital status, and medical conditions.

(Social Determinants of Pregnancy-Related Mortality and Morbidity in the United States, 2020)

HC Maternal Mortaility Rate

The disproportionate health disparities for black women and babies during childbirth require immediate action at both the state and county levels. In 2021, Harris County Public Health published the Leading Causes of Death report which began the call to action for our Department:

  • Black infants in Harris County had more than double the mortality rate when compared to other races/ethnicities
  • In Harris County from 2016-2020, Precinct 1 (predominately communities of color) had the highest maternal mortality rate at 5.68 deaths per 10,000 live births
  • From 2016-2020, the infant mortality rate in Harris County was 5.82 to 6.32 deaths per 1,000 live births
Local, State and National Maternal Mortality Trends

Below are statistics from other major state and national entities highlighting this issue:

  • Harris County has a child mortality rate of 55.3 per 100,000 as compared with the Texas state rate of 51.3 per 100,000
    (Episcopal Health Foundation, 2021).
  • The national maternal mortality rate was 23.8 per 100,000 births in 2020, an 18% year-over-year increase. But Black women died at a rate of 55.3 per 100,000 births that year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. (Texas Maternal Morbidity Review)

  • Maternal health outcomes in Texas have national implications. According to a recent report, the severe maternal morbidity rate in Texas in 2015 was 19.7 per 1,000 deliveries 
  • Studies reported increased case fatality, failure-to-rescue (death in the setting of severe morbidity), and preventable maternal deaths among black women, suggesting that management of severe morbidity may play a role in death disparities.

(Social Determinants of Pregnancy-Related Mortality and Morbidity in the United States, 2020)

Hospitalizations Severe Morbidity in Texas

Addressing Maternal Health Inequalities

Addressing Maternal Health Inequalities

The Maternal and Child Health Program will address the significant health inequities in maternal and infant health outcomes, especially for Black mothers and infants. In the pilot year, the project team will recruit a cohort of up to 100 participants across Harris County through HCPH clinical sites, WIC and Early Childhood program, and referral partners to help guide African American expectant mothers, postpartum mothers, breastfeeding mothers, and mothers that have delivered a baby within the last year.

Program Outcome

Program Impact

Decrease Maternal Health Disparities
Decreased percentage of clients with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight deliveries and maternal mortality in black populations, increased number of home visiting resources for post-partum care and resource navigation.

Decreased Percentage of Infant Mortality
Increased resources to ensure well-child visits, immunizations, and education on safe sleep practices and infant feeding measures

Improved Access to Care and Resource Navigation
Increased wraparound services, increased screening for Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), and access to services to reduce barriers to health coverage with pathways for alternatives.
Process and Eligibility

Open Enrollment into the 1st cohort of the Maternal and Child Health Program will be in January 2023. If you or someone you know may qualify and is interested in participating, please email [email protected].