OFFICE OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES

 

GOAL

The goal of the Office of Family and Community Health Services is to improve the health of Maryland families by ensuring comprehensive and quality preventive services. OFCHS is dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. The Office works with local health departments, schools and academic institutions, community-based organizations, health systems, and healthcare providers across the state.
OFCHS develops policies and implements primary prevention and early intervention strategies to improve the health of Maryland families. Leadership, consultation, training, and technical assistance is provided in several program areas including early childhood health, home visiting, adolescent health, and teen pregnancy prevention.
 

OFCHS PROGRAMS

MIECHV (Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting) Program

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program is an early childhood program funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in partnership with the  Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  These federal dollars fund states, territories, and tribal entities to develop and implement evidence-based, voluntary family support programs that best meet the needs of their communities.   
 
Five evidence-based home visiting programs are in use in Maryland: Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families America, Parents as Teachers, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), and Early Head Start. More can be read about these programs here. Maryland MIECHV supports 18 home visiting sites that utilize two programs: Healthy Families America and Nurse-Family Partnership.
 

Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program

The federally funded Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) program uses a multi-dimensional approach to promote sexual risk avoidance based on the promotion of abstinence as the best risk reduction strategy for adolescents.  The program takes a holistic approach to risk reduction and encourages the avoidance of substance use, and the value of forming healthy relationships.  The program targets adolescents and young adults ages 10-19 and their parents across the state.  Funding is provided to local health departments and community-based organizations to implement evidence-based curricula in school and community settings.  Parent education is included in the program to reinforce programmatic messages and to equip parents with skills to communicate with their youth about risky behavior.
 
The SRAE program provides teens and their caregivers with the information and tools to help delay sexual activity and prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and is vital to improving outcomes for adolescents. 
 

Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)

The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) educates adolescents on abstinence, contraception, and other adult preparation topics. The goal is to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS by ensuring youth are empowered to make healthy choices and positive decisions regarding sexual behavior as they prepare for successful adulthood. States are encouraged to serve youth ages 10-19 who meet the following criteria:
  • Live in geographic areas with high teen birth rates
  • Youth in out of home placement
  • Homeless/ runaway/out of school youth
  • Pregnant or parenting youth
  • Youth with HIV/AIDS
  • LBGTQ  youth 
 
As an administrator of this federal award, The MDH Maternal and Child Health Bureau awards mini-grants to local health departments and community-based partners. PREP sites must demonstrate a need for funding in their community and their capacity to implement an approved evidence-based curriculum with the youth in their community.
 

Babies Born Healthy Program

Infant mortality is one of the most critical indicators of the overall health of a population. Many factors, such as family health history, health status, environment, and poor access to quality health care, and institutional racism are known to contribute to infant mortality 1. 
 
The OFCHS is reducing infant mortality rates through the care coordination program, Babies Born Healthy,  (BBH) which addresses the immediate needs, social determinants of health, prenatal health education, healthcare, mental health, and substance use needs of expectant mothers. BBH programs are administered through local health departments, and one partnership with Greater Baden Medical Services. BBH sites are located in seven of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions with the highest numbers and highest rates of infant deaths.

The Maryland Optimal Adolescent Health Program

In 2020, the OFCHS initiated the Maryland Optimal Adolescent Health Program to increase the capacity of health education programs to develop students’ positive attitudes and values towards sexual and reproductive health and increase opportunities to reinforce skills and positive behaviors. Parent/caregiver programs will increase healthy communication between adults and youth. This effort will provide instruction and guidance to health educators and administrators to improve program outcomes and promote the sustainability of highly effective health education programming in Maryland. 
 

Maryland Family Planning Program

The Maryland Family Planning Program provides family planning, preconception health, and teen pregnancy prevention services to the 64,000+ clients served annually in over 62 sites statewide. Teens represent approximately one-third of clients served statewide. Funds are awarded to local health departments, federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs), and other private non-profit providers such as Planned Parenthood for the provision of clinical and other services. 
 

1 "The Impact of Institutional Racism on Maternal and Child Health."
 
Updated August 2020