Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Maternal and Child Health Bureau Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: 7/27/2020

HRSA is aware of the impacts the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency has and will continue to have on families. The mission of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) is to improve the health and well-being of America's mothers, children, and families.   Given this mission, programs funded by MCHB, including Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant programs and other formula and discretionary grant programs, have an important role to play in delivering critical services and assisting local communities to meet the unique needs of maternal and child health populations. Thank you for your commitment and service to the nation’s mothers, children and families.  We encourage you to be proactive in your emergency preparedness planning and to coordinate with partners at the state and local level in emergency response.

We recommend referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a resource for all up-to-date information, including the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant and breastfeeding women and children and children with special health care needs.

Read our joint letter (PDF - 76 KB) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on ensuring continued promotion and delivery of pediatric immunizations.

For HRSA’s response to grantee frequently asked questions, please see the HRSA Grantee Frequently Asked Questions page.

HRSA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page includes more federal resources and FAQs from other HRSA Bureaus.

MCHB's Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program COVID-19 page includes resources and FAQs specific for Home Visiting. 

Please continue to check this page for updates and contact your Project Officer directly with any questions not addressed in the FAQs.

Jump to:

Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant

How can Title V MCH Block Grant programs contribute to the nationwide effort addressing COVID-19?
During evolving public health situations, state and territorial Title V programs are poised to provide infrastructural and leadership support to improve the health of mothers, children, and families.  One of the strengths of the Title V program is its role in conducting ongoing assessment of maternal and child health (MCH) population needs and in implementing science-based approaches to address current and emerging issues.

What are some ways for states to adapt Title V funding to support COVID-19 programs?
Title V MCH Block Grant funds allow states to redirect these funds to support a state’s needs in responding to an evolving issue, such as COVID-19.  Potential responses may include:

  • Offering the support or leadership of Title V epidemiologists, in partnership with other state staff, to an outbreak investigation.
  • Providing support in educating the MCH population about COVID-19 through partnerships with other state agencies, medical providers, and health care organizations.
  • Working closely with state and local emergency preparedness staff to assure that the needs of the MCH population are represented.
  • Funding infrastructure that supports the response to COVID-19. For example, Public Health Nurses who are routinely supported through the Title V program may be able to be mobilized, using Title V funds or separate emergency funding, to support a call center or deliver health services.
  • Partnering with parent networks and health care providers to provide accurate and reliable information to all families.
  • Engaging community leaders, including faith-based leaders, to educate community members about strategies for preventing illness.

Do states need to seek prior approval to use Title V funds for a COVID-19 program?
As long as the expenditure of MCH block grant funds is in accordance with your state/jurisdiction’s fiscal policies and regulations and also consistent with the MCH block grant statute (e.g., 30/30/10 funding restrictions), you do not need to seek prior approval to use Title V funds as part of the COVID-19 response.  Please keep your Project Officer apprised of your efforts, as you are able.

How are Title V MCH Block Grant programs responding to COVID-19?
For questions about how Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant programs are responding to the COVID-19 in each state, grantees may refer to the list of Title V state contacts available on TVIS for state-specific contact information.

Will HRSA provide an extension of the July 15 due date for the Fiscal Year 2021 Title V MCH Services Block Grant Application/Annual Report (which includes the 2020 Five-Year Needs Assessment Summary)?
States/jurisdictions will have the option to submit the MCH Block Grant Application/Annual Report any time between July 15 and September 15.  This rolling deadline approach offers flexibility and relief to the States that need an extension for submitting the FY 2021 MCH Block Grant Application/FY 2019 Annual Report due to COVID-19 activities, while providing an option for States to submit earlier if they wish.  This approach also ensures continued compliance with legislative and grants policy requirements.  Please note there will only be one submission for this year’s MCH Block Grant Application/Annual Report in the Title V Information System (TVIS).  

Please know that we understand the difficulties many of you are facing, and we encourage you to do what you can reasonably accomplish in preparing this year’s Application/Annual Report.  While you must submit all required components of the Application/Annual Report, you will have an opportunity in next year’s Application/Annual Report to provide further updates to your ongoing Needs Assessment activities and to modify your selection of priority needs, National Performance Measures, Evidence-Based and -Informed Strategy Measures, State Performance Measures and/or State Outcome Measures.  If your Needs Assessment and/or your State/local reporting are incomplete due to COVID-19, we ask that you please provide clarification in a field note. 

Will the review process for the Fiscal Year 2021 Application/Annual Report be modified, given the rolling deadline (July 15 – September 15) for submissions?Following submission of the State MCH Block Grant Applications/Annual Reports on or before September 15, 2020, MCHB will conduct an internal financial assurance and completeness review.  This review will ensure that each State is eligible to receive its grant award beginning on October 1, 2020.  States will continue to have the opportunity to meet with MCH experts and Federal program staff to discuss their proposed State Action Plan and receive technical assistance at the virtual MCH Block Grant meetings that are to be conducted between October and December 2020.  As noted in the MCH Block Grant Application/Annual Report Guidance, the annual consultation with MCH experts and program staff is one of two required meetings for State Title V MCH and CSHCN Directors.  Your MCHB Project Officer will be reaching out to you to discuss the rescheduling of the August face-to-face reviews.

Please see the modified MCH Block Grant Application/Annual Report submission and review schedule below:

  • September 15, 2020: Due Date for Submission of the State MCH Block Grant FY 2021 Applications/FY 2019 Annual Reports, which include the 2020 Five-Year Needs Assessment Summary.
  • September 30, 2020: Abbreviated internal review that provides for financial assurance (e.g., 30-30-10 rule) and ensures completeness of the Application/Annual Report are submitted).
  • October 1, 2020: Award of the FY 2021 MCH Block Grants.
  • October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020: Virtual MCH Block Grant meetings with each of the 59 States/jurisdictions to allow for more in-depth program analysis and technical assistance.
  • October 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021: Dissemination of MCH Block Grant Application/Annual Report Review Summary Statements to State Title V Grantees.

Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)

Resources and Guidance for CYSHCN, Families, and Stakeholders

We are getting questions from families and caregivers we serve about resources for children and youth with special health care needs. Are there resources you can direct us to that we can provide to families and CYSHCN stakeholders seeking information.

Several federal agencies posted information online focused on children and youth with special health care needs and/or individuals with disabilities that grantees and stakeholders may find helpful.  Some of these resources include:

Families and caregivers have been contacting us seeking resources for coping during this challenging time? Are there any available federal resources to share?

Our program is trying to identify available information to support youth and young adults during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Where can I get more information related to the needs of youth and young adults?

  • The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP) is composed of representatives from 21 federal agencies that support programs and services focusing on youth. IWGYP’s provides resources to support youth and families during the COVID-19 outbreak on topics including childcare, education, employment, finances, food and nutrition, health/mental health, human services, safety, and more.
  • The IWGYP also sponsors the Youth Engaged 4 Change (YE4C) website and related social media to help young people improve their personal lives and the world around them. YE4C also provides youth-focused resources and opportunities to help young people make informed choices about how to help themselves and others during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Temporary Reassignment of Personnel During a Declared Public Health Emergency

Can a state or local public health department reassign personnel to address COVID-19 emergency needs?
Temporary reassignment of personnel during a declared public health emergency is addressed in a provision in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019, which applies to programs authorized under the Public Health Service (PHS) Act.

During a declared federal public health emergency, a Governor of a state, local or tribal organization or their designee may request to temporarily reassign state and local public health department, tribal, or agency personnel funded in whole or in part through programs authorized under the PHS Act to immediately address a public health emergency in the state or Indian tribe during the period of the emergency. Note, this provision is only applicable to state, tribal, and local public health department or agency personnel whose positions are funded, in full or part, under PHS Act programs.

MCHB-funded programs that may be impacted by this provision include:

  • Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs/Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program - Public Health Service Act, Title II, Section 399M (42 U.S.C. 280g-1)
  • Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program - Public Health Service Act, Title III, Section 330M (42 U.S.C. § 254c-19)
  • Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Other Related Disorders Programs - Public Health Service Act, Title III, Part B, Section 317L-1 (42 U.S.C. 247b-13a)
  • Healthy Start Programs - Public Health Service Act, Title III, Part D, Section 330H (42 U.S.C. 254c-8)
    • Healthy Start Initiative: Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health
    • Addressing and Preventing Lead Exposure Through Healthy Start
  • Newborn Screening - Public Health Service Act, Title XI, Sections 1109-1112 (42 U.S.C. 300b-8 -- 300b-11)
    • Quality Improvement in Newborn Screening Program
    • NBS State Evaluation Program
    • Regional Genetics Networks
  • Emergency Medical Services for Children - Public Health Service Act, Title XIX, Section 1910 (42 U.S.C. 300w-9)
    • EMSC State Partnership Grants
    • EMSC Targeted Issue Grant

Learn more about the temporary reassignment provision at:

General MCHB Grantee Information

How should grantees approach travel for grant-funded meetings?
HRSA’s MCHB understands that this is a public health emergency and that some grant activities, including those requiring travel, may be postponed. Please talk with your Project Officer regarding alternative approaches to planned activities. 

How should grantees address additional concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on fulfilling the terms of a MCHB award?  
If grantees have questions about how COVID-19 might impact their ability to comply with the terms of their MCHB funding, they should provide as much information as possible to their Project Officer. MCHB will work with the grantee to determine next steps to address the concern. Please continue to check this page for updates.

Some aspects of our approved grant project are going to be delayed or modified as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.  Do I need to get approval from HRSA to make necessary adjustments in the approved grant project? Are there any types of adjustments that are allowable without seeking approval?
HRSA is working to provide recipients as much flexibility as possible to counteract the results or related effect of COVID-19.  Due to specific legislative requirements for individual grant programs, not all flexibilities may be extended to all recipients, and specific grant programs may have requirements or restrictions that prohibit, or limit, certain activities.

Depending on the specific nature of the necessary adjustment; a Prior Approval such as a change in scope or rebudgetting request may require HRSA review and approval.  The Grants Management Specialist listed on the most recent Notice of Award is the appropriate point of contact for an initial inquiry.

In all cases, recipients are required to maintain appropriate records and cost documentation (per 2 CFR § 200.302 -Financial management; 2 CFR § 200.333 -Retention requirement of records to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activities costs related to interruption of operations of services.

Date Last Reviewed:  July 2020