Helping Mothers and Children with a Families Center in Washington, D.C.

The Developing Families Center in Washington, D.C., provides health and social support services to young women and their families in the city's low-income, Black neighborhoods. The facility houses three separate but collaborative programs:

  • A birth center staffed by nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners offers maternity, well-woman and pediatric care.
  • A community-based organization provides counseling, home visitation and case-management services to young, high-risk pregnant and parenting women and their children.
  • A child development program provides day care for up to 48 children ages 6 weeks through 3 years.

The facility opened in 2000 and remained ongoing in early 2010, when this report was written.

Key Results

  • Establishment of the Developing Families Center gave low-income pregnant women of inner-city Washington a source of personalized maternity care and access to a range of support services.

  • Although initially smaller than anticipated, use of the midwife birthing service increased steadily.

  • Based on the birth center's data, pregnant women receiving care there had better outcomes than pregnant women in the city as a whole.

  • The financial self-sufficiency of the facility remained unrealized.