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Maine's Home Visitor Program For New Parents Gets Almost $6 Million To Continue Its Work

Maine will get almost $6 million in federal money to continue its home visiting program for pregnant women and new parents.

The $5,944,280 is part of $342 million that the Health Resources and Services Administration is providing to 55 states, territories and not-for-profit organizations to continue the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.

The "Maine Families" program brings home visitors - who are certified through the organization "Parents as Teachers" and might be nurses, social workers or psychologists - to families to talk about things like development, feeding, and why babies might be crying or acting in confusing ways.

They're also tasked with helping parents make their homes safer, and helping them make changes in their own lives, such as quitting smoking or getting a GED, that might improve their children's prospects.

Home visitor programs been shown to help improve children's development, and to reduce abuse and neglect.

It's available to everyone, for free. The majority of families who use the service are young and lower-income.

Last year, Maine's program made home visits to about 2,200 homes, in every county in the state.

As well as the federal money, the program is funded by Maine's Department of Health and Human Services.