Philadelphia plans to start a pilot program that would provide approximately 250 pregnant women with a monthly guaranteed income for 18 months, in an effort to reduce racial disparities in birth outcomes.
The women would receive $1,000 monthly payments during pregnancy and through the first year of the child's life. Organizer of the program say there will be no strings attached to how the money is used.
“Infant mortality in Philadelphia is a solvable crisis,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “We know that being able to better support pregnant people and new parents helps keep babies alive."
SEE MORE: Maternal death rates increasing, new statistics show
Of the top ten most populated U.S. cities, Philadelphia has the highest infant mortality rate for the first year of life, according to the Philadelphia Department of Health.
Only people who live in neighborhoods with the highest rates of very low birth weight — Cobbs Creek, Strawberry Mansion and Nicetown-Tioga — will be eligible for the program. Participants must also have an annual income of less than $100,000.
In addition to providing money, participants will also be offered voluntary support benefits such as financial counseling, home visiting, lactation support and doulas.
The program has received $3 million in donations. The goal is to raise $6 million and start the program in early 2024.
SEE MORE: Report shows rise in sudden infant deaths of Black babies
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