Overview and Inventory of HHS Efforts to Assist Incarcerated and Reentering Individuals and their Families . Healthy Start Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health


Funding Mechanism: Competitive grant

Total Available Funding: $105 million available in FY 2010

Number of Awards: 104 awards of which 4 serve women that are incarcerated

Award Amount: range from $200,000 to $2.3 million

Length of Project Period: 5 years

Background: The purpose of the Healthy Start Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health program is to address significant health disparities experienced by Hispanics, American Indians, African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and immigrant populations, particularly pregnant and postpartum women and their infants. Substance abuse is included in the health issues addressed. Differences in perinatal health indicators may occur by virtue of education, income, disability, or living in rural/isolated areas. To address disparities and the factors contributing to it in these indicators, the scope of project services covers the pregnancy and inter-conception phases for women and infants residing in the high risk communities. Living within these high risk communities are women that have been incarcerated. Many children of the incarcerated with undiagnosed developmental disabilities are drug and/or alcohol exposed.  

A brief description of the projects that indicated within their grant application that they outreach to women that are incarcerated is listed below.

The Wisconsin Healthy Start

Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin: The project serves clients identified as high risk, from the Milwaukee County Jail (MCJ), homeless shelters, W-2 (TANF) agencies and the Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare regardless of the zip codes where a client resides in Milwaukee County.

Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County

Indianapolis Healthy Start (IHS): Indianapolis Healthy Start provides specialized case management services to women who are victims of domestic abuse. These services include one-on-one counseling and case management services to 151 women residing in the Indiana Women’s Prison who are pregnant and victims of domestic abuse. In 2009, 77 clients from the Indiana Women’s Prison were served. By the end of 2009, 59 were still incarcerated and 18 had been released. The Case Manager had a total of 385 encounters with these clients, and provided 181 referrals. The top referrals were for domestic violence support (66), legal services (26), baby supplies (25), and car seats (17). Additional referrals were made for depression treatment (8), employment (7), housing (7), and clothing (6).

Illinois Department of Human Services - Chicago Healthy Start

Utilizing funds from the State of Illinois Funds provides case management and health education services to pregnant women that were in Cermak, the health component of Cook County jail. Once released, they are linked to one of the Healthy Start Projects in Chicago or a family case management project. A referral is established prior to their discharge from the correctional facility.

Cleveland Department of Public Health - Cleveland Healthy Family/ Healthy Start Project

The Cleveland Moms First Project reaches out to pregnant and parenting incarcerated women in the Cuyahoga County Jail. They also serve women in the Cleveland House of Corrections and on occasion the Juvenile Detention facility.

Evaluation Activities: While we are currently conducting an evaluation of the Healthy Start program, the evaluation does not specifically address services to incarcerated or re-entering women and their families.

Future Prospects: As a result of a preference, there are no additional dollars to expand funding to additional communities.


Beverly Wright, C.N.M., M.S.N., M.P.H,
Team leader
Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services
Phone: (301) 443-5691
Email: Beverly.Wright@hrsa.hhs.gov

View full report


"index.pdf" (pdf, 703.66Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®