Policy Resource

Tennessee’s Universal Welcome Baby Initiative

Sep 20, 2016

Newborns in Tennessee receive more than a baby blanket upon their arrival into the world.

Each new baby in Tennessee receives 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 approximately 80,000 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. In addition to receiving a Welcome Baby packet, some families will receive a follow-up phone call from a nurse and may be scheduled for a voluntary home visit by a local community outreach team member. Additional contacts may also be made with the family during the first year of the child’s life to connect the family to resources in the community. This outreach effort began in counties across the state with the highest rates of infant mortality. The Welcome Baby initiative is in effort to reduce infant mortality rates and improve early childhood success in Tennessee.

The purpose of the Welcome Baby packet is to provide information to families of newborns, screen families and children for risks at the time of a child’s birth, provide timely referrals to address family needs, and improve utilization of community resources. Topics covered during outreach contact include: medical care, parent support, nutrition, safety, child development and smoking.

Reviewed July 2018.

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