Child Health

In FY 2017, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program served over 156,000 parents and children and provided more than 942,000 home visits.

As children grow, they develop skills that impact the rest of their lives. We created initiatives and programs to build systems that improve the physical and emotional health of children and adolescents.

These efforts promote best-in-class emergency medical care for children and encourage positive parenting, child development, and school readiness.

What are our goals?

Increase the number of children who receive a developmental screening.

  • Early identification of developmental disorders is critical to the well-being of children and their families. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screening tests begin at the nine-month visit.

Decrease the number of hospital admissions for non-fatal injury among children ages zero through nine.

  • Reducing the burden of non-fatal injury can greatly improve the quality of life and cost savings for children and their families.

Decrease the number of sleep-related deaths.

  • The AAP recommends use of the back-sleep position on a separate firm sleep surface and without loose bedding

Decrease bullying victimization among children and adolescents.

  • Emotional and behavioral problems experienced by victims, bullies, and bully-victims may continue into adulthood and produce long-term negative outcomes

Increase the number of children who are adequately insured.

  • Inadequately insured children are more likely to lack appropriate and timely care, be without a medical home and/or dental home, and be less likely to receive needed referrals and family-centered care.

Increase access to comprehensive oral health care for MCH populations most at risk for oral disease.

  • One in four women of childbearing age have untreated cavities. Children from mothers with poor oral health develop tooth decay at a higher rate with one in five affected in early childhood.
  • When left untreated, tooth decay can harm children’s quality of life and impair academic performance.
  • Moreover, parents averaged 2.5 absent days from work or school per year because of their children's dental problems.

How do we accomplish our goals?

We accomplish our goals through the following initiatives and programs:

  • Child Safety Learning Collaborative

    We partner with other federal agencies and more than 20 national organizations to reduce fatal and serious injuries among infants, children, and youth. Through the Child Safety Learning Collaborative, states and jurisdictions are working with one another to increase the adoption of evidence-based policies, programs, and practices at state and local levels.

    It supports shared improvement among Title V agencies in 15 states on the following:

    • Sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID)
    • Bullying prevention
    • Suicide/self-harm prevention
    • Motor vehicle traffic
  • National Fetal, Infant, and Child Death Review Program
    • We fund the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention to provide leadership, technical assistance and training to more than 1350 state and local Child Death Review (CDR) teams as well as 175 Fetal and infant mortality reviews programs (FIMRs). The Center also helps these programs facilitate the translation of recommendations from CDR and FIMR into action and practice.
    • The Center created and maintains a standardized data collection form and a cost-free National Case Reporting System Exit Disclaimer for CDR and FIMR programs. The system contains entries on more than 230,000 child deaths from 45 states and more than 6,090 FIMR cases from 19 states. The data from these reviews provide insight into gaps in services, systems, and modifiable risk factors. This helps create and maintain risk reduction and prevention programs at the local, state and federal level.
    • The Healthy Start program also directly funds some localities to create FIMR programs to raise awareness of fetal, and infant deaths, prevent future deaths, and address emerging issues.
  • National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovations Network (NAPPSS-IIN)

    NAPPSS-IIN is an initiative to make safe infant sleep and breastfeeding the national norm by aligning stakeholders in a coalition of organizations that work with families. NAPPSS-IIN is also testing safety bundles in multiple care settings to improve the likelihood that infant caregivers and families receive consistent, evidence-based instruction about safe sleep and breastfeeding.

  • HRSA Bullying Prevention Initiative

    Approximately 20% of youth ages 12 through 18 reported being bullied at school in the United States during the 2017 school year. That translates to millions of youth being impacted across the country each year.In 2017, about 29 percent of 6th-graders, 25 percent of 8th-graders, and 24 percent of 7th-graders reported being bullied at school, In addition, a higher percentage of 9th-graders than of 11th- and 12th-graders and a higher percentage of 10th-graders than of 12th-graders reported being bullied at school (PDF - 2.2 MB)

    Research shows bullying has serious, lasting effects. But prevention can improve the physical and mental health, safety, and well-being of children and their families.

    Our program works with stakeholders at national, state, and local levels to translate research and develop guidance and resources. We then share these via StopBullying.gov.

  • Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS)
  • Bridging the Word Gap Research Network Exit Disclaimer

    Its goal is to reduce the number of children who enter school with delays in language and early literacy.

  • Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC)

    EMSC is the only federal grant program specifically focused on addressing the distinct needs of children in pre-hospital and hospital emergency medical systems.  The program works to ensure that seriously sick or injured children have access to the same high-quality pediatric emergency health care no matter where they live in the United States.

    The Program has five main investments to ensure pre-hospital EMS agencies and hospital emergency departments improve pediatric health outcomes:

    • Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network
      Conducts rigorous multi-institutional research in Emergency Department and pre-hospital EMS settings. Seeks to increase the evidence base for appropriate and effective treatment that improves health outcomes for acute illnesses and injuries in children.
    • State Partnership
      Expands and improves a state's capacity to deliver evidence-based, effective pediatric emergency care that aligns with best practices.  Awardees in states and schools of medicine are driving system improvements in nine pediatric-focus areas.
    • Targeted Issues
      Supports investigator-driven research and innovative projects that turn research into practice and contributes to the evidence base for improving pediatric health outcomes related to emergency care.
    • EMSC Data Center
      Serves two major functions:
      1. Supports states in the collection, analysis, and utilization of data for EMSC performance measures, as well as provides analytical support to award recipients and national stakeholders to advance the delivery of quality pediatric emergency care; and
      2. Serves as an independent Data Coordinating Center for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), a research network conducting rigorous, high priority research studies.
    • EMSC Innovation and Improvement Center
      Accelerates improvements in quality of care and outcomes for children who are in need of urgent or emergency care through an infrastructure that ensures routine, integrated coordination of quality improvement activities between key stakeholder organizations and their champions. The center works to demonstrate how leveraging quality improvement science can improve and transform health care outcomes for children in the United States.

Related Resources

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2020