Decatur County Health Department
M.O.R.E. (Mothers Offering Resources and Education) program
Our health department is located in DeKalb County in Decatur, Georgia. We have five health centers who serve clients in low income areas within the community. We serve around 200,000 clients annually out of the 750,000 residents of DeKalb County. Our M.O.R.E. (Mothers Offering Resources and Education) program focus on those young mother between the ages of 14 to 24. M.O.R.E. service goals are to decrease infant mortality by catching these young mother during pregnancy for a better outcome. M.O.R.E. services can range from basic clothing, shelter (transition/temporary housing), confidence and self esteem building. The implemented of the program came about in 2005 when our data showed we were losing 12 babies per 1000 in South DeKalb. Our milestones, outcome or impacts has showing within the last 10 year the numbers has decrease by 30%. The expansion of the M.O.R.E. program from two (2) to four (4) centers has allow the program to clover a diverse population. Even with the expansion the program still have clients on a waiting list. Our website is dekalbhealth.net.
The problem in this particular population in DeKalb County is infant mortality. The M.O.R.E. program target population are young mothers between the ages of 14 to 40 years of age whom lack a lot of the resources to survive. We have reach out to over 3000 clients with in the last 12 years and have barely touch the total number of clients in need. M.O.R.E. budget restraints for the last 12 years have when from $50,000 with three (3) part-time Resources Mother to $250,000 with five (5) Resources Mother, one full time supervisor and a part-time program associate. In the past the program was limit to one part-time staff and one volunteer. The additional funding and staff has improve out ability to cover more ground (increase clients and supplies) and advertise via media and word of mouth. We are now able to collect data better from our initial, close out and follow-up with an existing access database.
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The M.O.R.E. program goals are to increase resources for clients. With the additional database we have been able to apply for grant funding that will help with bringing on additional full time staff and supplies. The criteria for those individual who qualify for the program or mothers who are currently pregnant and have a child less than 1 years of age. The timeframe for the staff is on going and for clients it's when their child turns one (1) years old. Our stakeholders include the DeKalb County Commissioners who fund the program and the collaborative agencies in the private sector that help to support the program through supplies and classes (in-kind and a nominal fee). Current budget $250,000 and the majority of the fund is salaries and the rest is operational cost to support the M.O.R.E client's needs.
M.O.R.E. objective is to address the infant mortality disparity in DeKalb County. The national infant mortality rate (in 2005, when the program was created, the number of deaths of infants under 1 year of age per 1000 live births was approximately 6.2, while Dunwoody's (city of DeKlab0 was 2.9. Lithonia (city in DeKalb), on the other hand was 13.5, a nearly 5 fold difference, though only a distance of less than 30 miles.
The M.O.R.E. program provide parenting classes, breastfeeding assistance, emotional support, and resource distribution, including car seats and layettes. To date, the program has served over 3000 women, with less than five infants who did not live to celebrate their first birthday.
M.O.R.E. staff been trained as doulas (birthing coaches) so that they may provide assistance during the labor process, thereby improving the birth experience for both mother and baby. M.O.R.E. have also undergone training with Georgia Department of Public Health's Talk With Me Baby program, which promotes early language development and Car Seat Safety training to improve knowledge of the young mother on how to secure the children in a car seat.
The program modified the program base on data collect for a successful community by offers young father an opportunity to experience their roles a fathers through the FORE (Fathers Offering Resources and Education) Program, which is the arm of the MORE program.
Our lesson learn within the last 12 years is there is more need than we original thought. Thank to our collaborative effort with the county commissioners to fund the program and private sector to donate supplies has help tremendously. M.O.R.E. is able to sustain current status because of the commitment from our collaborative partner, but we still need to seek other sources (grants) to advance in the future to make our community more productive. The family bond is the key to making our community strong for the future of our children.