Certainly, children are one of the most vulnerable populations that CareSource serves.
And that vulnerability is compounded when coupled with an unstable or unhealthy home life. That’s why we have invested in a number of groundbreaking programs to make their lives better.
In 2018, a staggering 136 infants died before their first birthday in Franklin County, Ohio.1 Meanwhile, research suggested that housing instability could increase a woman’s risk of premature birth by 200%. Were the two statistics related? Could an infant’s housing environment determine his or her fate?
This question was the catalyst for Healthy Beginnings at Home, a private-public collaboration with the goal of reducing the number of central Ohio babies who die before their first birthday. With funding from the CareSource Foundation, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and other partners, Columbus nonprofit CelebrateOne developed this pilot study to demonstrate the impact of safe, stable and affordable housing on maternal health and birth outcomes.
The ongoing, two-year program offers subsidized housing to 50 low-income pregnant women in unstable housing conditions and then compares their outcomes with those of 50 women in unstable housing situations who received traditional community services. Researchers are studying key indicators like pre-term births, low birth weights, breastfeeding prevalence, attendance at postpartum visits and the health of mothers.
Many new mothers in the study have taken advantage of the extra stability by finding employment and furthering their education, hinting that the program will provide a fresh start for the mother as well as the child. But in an August 2019 interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Amy Riegel, CareSource’s Director of Housing, explained our initial success indicator:
“To help mom have a healthy pregnancy and to help her deliver a healthy baby who thrives to their first birthday, that’s goal No. 1.”
The success of Healthy Beginnings at Home is a testament to CareSource looking beyond our own resources for positive community partnerships to improve our members’ lives.
1 Source: The Columbus Dispatch