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

District of Columbia Developing Families Center

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.