Focusing on Maternal and Early Childhood Health

Why maternal and early childhood health need our attention

The first 1,000 days of a child's life - when their brain is developing the fastest - sets the stage for their long-term health. Pregnancy and the post-partum period are also an important time for the health of women and birthing people. Chicagoans die from pregnancy-related causes at higher rates than in any other region in Illinois. Furthermore, infants born to Black women die at rates more than double that of infants born to white, Hispanic/Latinx, or Asian women.
 
Prenatal care is crucial to reducing pregnancy-related health risks. There is a strong and growing evidence base for home visiting, the measurable benefits of which include:
  • Helping expectant parents access prenatal care and improve medical follow up;
  • Equipping caregivers with the knowledge and tools to reduce unintentional injuries;
  • Teaching caregivers how to engage with children in positive and nurturing ways, reducing child abuse and neglect;
  • Improving social and community connections, helping caregivers feel less isolated.

What Lurie Children’s is doing to address maternal and early childhood health

Lurie Children's is home to the Schreiber Family Center for Early Childhood Health and Wellness. The Schreiber Family Center's initiatives focus on promoting, protecting or removing barriers to safe, stable and nurturing relationships during a child's first five years of life. Though many of the Schreiber Family Center's programs benefit children in the Chicagoland area and beyond, the center places a special focus on Chicago's West and South Sides where the risks for infant and maternal mortality are higher.
 
Lurie Children’s Connect Home Visiting Chicago (formerly ConnecTeen) program is a Schreiber Family Center initiative that increases access to home visiting services by working within Chicago Public Schools and in partnership with many other health care and community-based organizations. Based on its success to date, Connect Home Visiting Chicago is now taking on the leadership role for the new West Side Healthy Parents and Babies home visiting initiative as part of West Side United. 

Our impact on maternal and early childhood health

  • Connect Home Visiting Chicago is the highest-volume intake office for home visiting referrals in the State of Illinois.
  • Connect Home Visiting Chicago has served over 90 ZIP Codes throughout Chicago, working with over 40 home visiting program partners.
  • The Schreiber Family Center is the first multidisciplinary center within the Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities to focus on a specific childhood developmental stage. It will expand evidence-based, community-responsive programs and support collaborative research to uncover new ways to support infants and young children impacted by social influencers of health.