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CareOregon supports Baby Booster program

Jun 20, 2016, 07:00 AM

June 20, 2016

First thousand days can make a lifetime of difference to babies

PORTLAND, Ore. — Mothers in one outer southeast Portland community are about to find themselves wrapped in a supportive embrace that nurtures them and their newborns. The goal is to set them on a path of better health and well-being for the rest of their lives.

Baby Booster is ROSE Community Development’s collective impact initiative aimed at improving the quality of life for children in their first 1,000 days, from conception to age two.

With a grant for $55,000 from CareOregon, a health plan serving Medicaid and Medicare recipients, ROSE will hire three bilingual community health workers. They will work with ROSE’s clients to identify pregnant women and families with children up to age two. New moms will come together through parenting workshops, play groups and other activities as the coordinators help them foster a supportive and informed network.

ROSE is launching the program in the Lents and Jade neighborhoods, which are among Portland’s most ethnically diverse. Families there have some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, low birthweight and infant mortality in the city.

“These are known risk factors in child development,” said Lauren Macbeth, assistant director at ROSE Community Development. “The Baby Booster initiative unites public health, affordable housing, child development and early childhood education. We will work with culturally specific groups that reflect the makeup of the community to support pregnant women, young mothers and their families.

“Our goal is to reduce teen pregnancy, low birthweight and infant mortality through a collaborative effort,” said Macbeth. “Research shows this will benefit not just mother and child, but the entire community.” Researchers at Portland State University School of Community Health will track results.

“We were greatly impressed with the resources ROSE Community Development brought together,” said Martin Taylor, director of Public Policy and Community Relations at CareOregon. “By addressing the issue of child health in this holistic way, ROSE can bring about lasting change in the families and children it touches.

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For information about the Baby Booster Program, contact Lauren Macbeth, ROSE Community Development, 503-788-8052, ext. 15.

For information about the CareOregon Community Benefit Grant Program, contact Shawn DeCarlo, 503-416-3913, or