Tennessee’s Universal Welcome Baby Initiative
Newborns in Tennessee will now get more than a baby blanket upon their arrival into the world.
Each new baby in Tennessee will get a “Welcome Baby” packet to connect the baby and family to services in their community.
The program, launched in 2013 by the Tennessee Department of Health, connects new parents to multiple resources throughout the state. All parents of the 79,000 babies born each year in Tennessee will receive a packet within a few weeks of the baby’s birth. This packet contains a congratulatory letter, referrals to services that address family needs, sign up material for a local library, and information on Tennessee’s online directory of state services for children and families. A nurse will also contact some families as a follow-up. Some families may be scheduled for a voluntary home visit by a local community outreach team member. This outreach will cover topics such as medical care, parent support, nutrition, smoking, safety, and child development.
The purpose of the Welcome Baby packet is to provide information to families of newborns, connect children and families to resources in the community, screen children and families for risks at the time of the child’s birth, and improve utilization of community resources.
Welcome Baby began in counties with the highest infant mortality rates, with the goal of implementation of direct outreach in 32 counties.