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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: September 27, 2011


Delaware was awarded a $2.9 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Sept. 22 to help at-risk families voluntarily receive home visits to improve maternal and child health. The state Division of Public Health's Family Health Section will use the funds to support the development of a comprehensive early childhood system that addresses health and development from the prenatal period through age 8, reaching high-risk and hard-to-engage populations including rural communities. As part of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, this first-time grant is funded by the Affordable Care Act and was awarded to only 13 states.

"Helping children succeed in school and in business begins early and at home," said Governor Jack Markell. "This grant will enable us to reach at risk children in their own homes providing resources that will help them build a critical foundation for their future. By helping children in their earliest years, we significantly increase their chances of success later on in life."

DPH will build upon four existing home-visiting programs; Smart Start, the Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers and Early Head Start. This will involve recruiting home visitors who can serve as health navigators in Wilmington and in southern Delaware.

"The use of community health workers is documented as a method to enhance health education with high-risk and underserved populations,"said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "This facilitates a culturally competent approach to serving families."

For more information on the Smart Start program, go to

For more information on DPH's maternal and child health programs, go to

For more information on HRSA's MIECHV program, please visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.