Earth’s Natural Touch: Birth Care & Beyond and Bridgeport Prospers/United Way recently received an award from March of Dimes to Raise Awareness of Doula Care and to Provide Scholarships for Maternal Services to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes in Bridgeport, CT.
Listen to these stats! And Keep up with some of the work that we are doing with Bridgeport Prospers United Way in Bridgeport, CT along with many other partners. This week, the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County announced that Bridgeport Prospers would be leading the charge in making change here in Bridgeport, CT after receiving an extremely competitive Community Innovation Grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative. Earth’s Natural Touch: Birth Care & Beyond is proud to announce that we will be continuing our work with the United Way’s Bridgeport Prospers through the Doula Expansion Project to provide Doula services to families throughout the city with the goal of giving Bridgeport’s children a better start in life. Bridgeport Prospers has created an amazing ecosystem of over 40 partner programs who all work to improve maternal and infant health, child development and school readiness. The Office of Early Childhood’s Commissioner, Beth Bye is looking at this work as a model for the state.
Why is this so important to us? As Allison Loga, Executive Director of Bridgeport Prospers said during the announcement, “COVID has brought to light disparities we knew already existed in health justice.” We already know there are structural and racial barriers in place that prevent our children from being as great as they can be, and Fairfield County has the LARGEST opportunity gap in the entire country. Science tells us that 80% of a child’s brain development happens prenatally and during the first 3 years of life.
Sit with that for just a second. Then listen to these statistics…25% of Bridgeport families receive little to no prenatal care. We know that prenatal care can have a huge impact on birth outcomes. Many of the mothers report feeling socially isolated and economically stressed. We know that Having a Doula who provides psychosocial support can help reduce maternal stress, which in turn has a positive influence on pregnancy and birth outcomes. Therefore, the inequities in pregnancy outcomes for Black and low-income women can be addressed by increasing access to Doula support.
Up to 75% of Bridgeport’s 3 year old's fall short of meeting developmental milestones. This is scary because The academic achievement gaps starts as early as age 2 as United Way of Coastal Fairfield’s CEO, Jeff Kimball pointed out. Once that gap starts, it grow over the years and by age 17, that gab can be 3-4 years! So… Our 17 year old children can be 3-4 years academically behind their counterparts who live right in neighboring towns in the same county who are not facing the struggles and barriers that their families have for generations.
Why does this early work need to happen so early in life? Dr. James Heckman’s study shows that a greater early investment leads to a greater return. If we invest now in our children, they may not have to struggle the way some of their parents and grandparents are struggling right now. We can eliminate the hopelessness that CEO Jeff Kimball spoke about that runs through generations if we start with the seeds. An early investment can lead to a path of success. But right now, only 14% of Bridgeport’s childcare is reaching the children who could benefit from it, the infants and toddlers. You know we can go on and on about this because we are passionate about this work. And as we always like to say, The Earth’s Natural Touch: Birth Care & Beyond Doulas did not come here to play! Let’s work to make it happen!
Anyway, watch the video and listen to The Voice winner Javier Colon sing a nice tune at the end.
New Haven Healthy Start services all women, with a particular focus in African American communities, which have an infant mortality rate that is 2 ½ times higher than that of white infants in New Haven and across the nation. New Haven Healthy Start demonstrates success in providing a coordinated systems approach to increasing the health and well-being of the families that we serve