Healthy Babies Project’s Teen-to-Doula Program
Healthy Babies Project (HBP) is a premiere force in tackling the country’s highest rates of infant mortality. Healthy Babies Project (HBP) helps at-risk D.C. families have healthy babies, reverse the cycle of poverty, and move into self-sufficiency. With a track record reaching back 20 years, HBP provides leadership to reduce the dangerously high rates of infant death, illness, low birth weight, and repeat pregnancies and improve the health, education, and parenting outcomes for disadvantaged D.C. mothers, fathers, and infants, equipping them to live productive lives. DC has some of the worst birth rates in the developed world: a baby is more likely to die if born in DC than if born in Warsaw, Poland; Athens, Greece; or Bratislava, Slovakia. While, the infant mortality rates in wealthy areas of DC are close to zero, the same cannot be said for poorer wards in DC. Infant mortality rates in very poor areas of DC approach those experienced in El Salvador and Cambodia. This horrific birth rate is concentrated primarily in Wards 5, 7, and 8.
With their holistic approach, HBP is focused on changing this reality. Their unique strategy addresses core poverty-causing issues facing underserved pregnant DC residents. They provide housing, food, education, health care, violence, abuse, job readiness, and life skills to support healthy birth outcomes and help teen moms move into future-filled lives. Through an exciting new Teen-to-Doula program, HBP is harnessing the power of social enterprise to help teen moms help each other and develop new businesses in maternal care and women’s health.
Teen mothers who qualify become trained and certified by HBP as doulas to provide critical services before, during, and after birth. With two doulas now trained and being paid to help women deliver healthy babies in the District, HBP is partnering with DC Social Innovation Project to find a pathway to scale and success. Through our pro-bono teams, we will be focused on developing a strategy for growth and a teen doulas marketing plan to connect them with the thousands of mothers-to-be in the District.