The federal Health Resources and Services Administration is giving nearly $6 million to Maine in support of home visits for mothers and infants. 

The agency says the money will help the state expand voluntary home visiting services to women during pregnancy and to parents with children up to kindergarten age. 

The HRSA says home visits are geared at preventive health measures such as smoking cessation, improving nutrition and finding prenatal care.

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is awarding a total of $345 million to 55 states and territories. The Federal Home Visiting Program serves almost 40 percent of U.S. counties with high rates of low birth weight infants, teen births, families living in poverty or infant mortality. Maine's portion of the award is $5,992,218.


HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae says home visits may include support for preventive health and prenatal practices such as helping mothers find suitable prenatal care, improve their diets, and reduce use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal substances.

Mcrae says home visitors can assist mothers through all stages of pregnancy and beyond, providing support to mothers learning to breastfeed and care for their babies. In addition, home visitors may provide health and development education for mother and child by helping parents understand child development milestones and behaviors and promoting parents’ use of praise and other positive parenting techniques. Home visitors may also work with mothers to set goals for the future, continue their education, and find employment and child care solutions.

More than 2.3 million home visits have been conducted through the Program, serving parents and children in 825 counties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories. Nearly 80 percent of families participating in the program had household incomes at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.