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NAACP Opposes Funding Cuts to Support Healthy Start Programs Across the U.S.

WHEREAS, infant mortality and low birth weight remain major public health issues in the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, both infant mortality and low birth weight among African American women is more than two times higher than that of white women; and

WHEREAS, in 1991, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funded 15 urban and rural sites in communities with infant mortality rates that were 1.5 - 2.5 times the national average to begin the Healthy Start Initiative; and

WHEREAS, Healthy Start Programs across the US address the core services of direct outreach, client recruitment, health education, case management, depression screening, referral and inter-conceptional care services for those women of racial and ethnic minority communities; and

WHEREAS, over 90% of all Healthy Start families that receive services are African American, Hispanic, or Native American; and

WHEREAS, out of 35,156 people served in Healthy Start Programs, 61.4% of children were African American; and

WHEREAS, out of the total number of live births targeted and served by Healthy Start in 2011, 58.2% were African American mothers and children; and

WHEREAS, in 2011, the Healthy Start Program served over 35,000 women who have delivered 43,809 babies, not including 29,552 at-risk women served before or after pregnancy 39,684 at-risk infants, and children and 7,067 men.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the President's proposed budget to sustain federal funding for Healthy Start at $104 million; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages local units and state Conferences to partner with local Healthy Start programs by hosting community forums to raise awareness of the benefits available to eligible residents and build community coalitions to support funding for healthy start programs within their area; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages all local units and state conferences to support Healthy Start programs in your jurisdiction by contacting their federal and state legislative leaders to ask them to maintain their current Healthy Start services with no cuts to the proposed budget.

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