Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program

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Michele Lawler, MS, RD 
Division of State and Community Health 


The Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program is the nation’s oldest federal-state partnership. It aims to improve the health and well-being of women (particularly mothers) and children.

What are the Goals of Title V?

Title V funds are distributed to grantees from 59 states and jurisdictions. The funds seek to provide:

  • Access to quality care, especially for people with low-incomes or limited availability of care
  • Assistance in the reduction of infant mortality
  • Access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care for women, especially low-income and at-risk pregnant women
  • An increase in health assessments and follow-up diagnostic and treatment services
  • Access to preventive and child care services as well as rehabilitative services for certain children
  • Family-centered, community-based systems of coordinated care for children with special healthcare needs
  • Toll-free hotlines and assistance in applying for services to pregnant women with infants and children who are eligible for Title XIX (Medicaid).

How Does the Title V MCH Block Grant Program Work?

State maternal and child health agencies, which are usually located within a state health department, submit a yearly application/annual report (PDF – 1.8 MB). They also complete a statewide comprehensive needs assessment every five years. Title V funds are then used to design and implement a wide range of activities that address state and national needs.

How Is the Title V MCH Block Grant Program Funded?

Each year, Congress sets aside funding for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. Individual state portions are then determined by a formula, which considers the proportion of low-income children in a particular state compared to the total number of low-income children in the entire U.S.

States and jurisdictions must match every four dollars of federal Title V money that they receive by at least three dollars of state and/or local money (i.e., non-federal dollars.) Most states overmatch and the resulting funds vary. Typically more than $5 billion is available each year for maternal and child health programs at the state and local levels.

A total of 59 states and jurisdictions receive Title V funding. In FY 2014, states reported reaching over 50 million pregnant women, infants, children—including those with special health care needs—and others, through the Title V Block Grant.

How Have We Transformed the Title V MCH Block Grant Program?

To develop a common vision for improving, innovating, and transforming the Title V MCH Block Grant, we engaged stakeholders and other national, state, and local leaders; families; and other partners. The triple aims of the transformation were to:

  • reduce burden,
  • maintain flexibility, and
  • increase accountability.  

Ultimately, the transformation aims to improve accountability of performance and impact, and better demonstrate the returns on investment for Title V in bettering the health and well-being of mothers, children, and families in the U.S.

Improvements should be seen throughout the program, but will be particularly noticeable in the revision of the performance measure framework.

What Does the Performance Measure Framework Include?

This three-tiered framework will more clearly show how Title V programs impact health outcomes while maintaining flexibility for states.

  • National Outcome Measures (NOMs) – intended to represent the desired result of Title V program activities and interventions. These measures for improved health are longer-term than National Performance Measures.
  • National Performance Measures (NPMs) – intended to drive improved outcomes relative to one or more indicators of health status (i.e., NOMs) for the MCH population.  
  • Evidence-based Strategy Measures (ESMs) – intended to hold states accountable for improving quality and performance related to the NPMs and related public health issues. ESMs will assist state efforts to more directly measure the impact of specific strategies on the NPMs.

Each measure, tied to a national data source, allows for more timely, reliable, and valid data reporting. The new performance measure framework intends to track areas where the state MCH programs can best demonstrate the impact of their Title V investments.

Related Resources

Title V Information System (TVIS)
Captures key financial, program, and performance/indicator data as reported by the state Title V Maternal and Child Health programs.

MCH Training Program
Provides ongoing support to programs, including Title V, through a variety of education and training that serves to fulfill needs and complement state and local health agency efforts.

MCH Research Program
Supports innovative research through funded projects that have the potential to improve the health and well-being of the MCH population.

Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) exit disclaimer icon
A national resource, partner, and advocate for state public health leaders and others working to improve the health of women, children, youth and families, including those with special health care needs.


Date Last Reviewed:  December 2016