Tennessee has begun a new outreach effort that aims to ensure newborns are healthy and have been screened for potential risks to avoid infant mortality.
The Tennessee Department of Health has teamed with First Lady Crissy Haslam in the creation of the new Welcome Baby package that will be given to every family or mother within the first few works of their new child's birth.
“We're doing this to support all new parents. This is such a critical time of a baby's development and we want to make sure parents have the information and resources they need to support that development successfully,” said Loraine Lucinski, the administrator of Early Child Initiatives in Tennessee.
The Welcome Baby package includes a welcome letter from Mrs. Haslam, information about Kid Central TN, an enrollment form to Imagination Library, and a safe sleep door hanger with messages about safe sleep.
Kid Central TN is the state's new Web site dedicated to providing important information regarding the early stages of childhood for parents.
Lucinski told News 2 the information portal includes services administered by the state, developmental milestones, as well as information about safe sleep, breast feeding, and other important child rearing facts.
She added that some families with heightened levels of risk for their child will receive further services along with the Welcome Baby packet.
“Some families, based on risk, will also receive a contact from a nurse and some will have the opportunity to receive a one time, in person home visit to give addition information and resources and support to them,” Lucinski explained.
She said risk is assessed by identifiers on a birth certificate that help officials determine if a child may be more at risk for infant mortality.
Lowering the infant mortality rate in Tennessee is the ultimate goal of the new outreach effort.
“So, currently, the capacity is to try to outreach to families that live in 32 counties. Those counties have been identified as the most risk for infant mortality and poor childhood outcomes,” Lucinski said.
To read more about the initiative, read the state's release.
For the new Web site dedicated to children's health, visit KidCentralTN.com.