DCís poorest wards have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, and the infant mortality rate is nearly twice the national average. The Healthy Babies Project fights the odds, providing pregnancy prevention classes to vulnerable youth and offering wraparound care to pregnant teens and young parents. Case managers work one-on-one with each mom, providing comprehensive prenatal, parenting, and childbirth education while addressing other needs Ė healthcare, housing, food, transportation, and more. Services begin prenatally and are offered long term (for 3-5 years after a baby is born) as parents work on completing their education and building healthy, self-sufficient families. Last year, all 223 moms had healthcare and a safe place to live; just 3.8% of clients had premature births (compared with 10% District-wide); not one baby was lost to infant death. A healthy beginning for new life: thereís no greater gift.
HBP has pivoted its individual home visits and group training from in-person to virtual, allowing it to continue to equip youth with parenting, family planning, and life skills training. One partner is using that platform to lead a special series of virtual workshops to equip HBP youth with effective advocacy strategies. Many current and new partners have found creative ways to help: contributing in-kind gifts of food, PPE, art supplies, gift cards for meals, food, medicine, and clothing, and even a sewing machine; leading yoga and meditation classes; tutoring; facilitating GED classes; and simply visiting with the girls when they felt isolated.