Maternal & Childhood Programs Archives - Page 2 of 3 - ITCMI

Healthy Start

Maajtaag Mnobmaadzid, “The Start of a Healthy Life”

Healthy Start is a national infant mortality prevention initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Our project is one of about 100 federally-funded projects around the country, and includes 10 sites: Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Hannahville Indian Community, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Little Traverse Bay Bands, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians,and American Indian Health & Family Services of Southeast Michigan. Healthy Start focuses on access to and use of health services for women and their families, strengthening local health systems and increasing consumer input into these systems of local care. Each year, we provide personalized, supportive case management to between 600 and 700 people, and community outreach and education services to over 4,000 people in 14 counties in Michigan.

Core Strategies: Healthy Start features evidence-based practices and innovative, culturally informed community-driven interventions. Beginning with direct outreach by community health workers to pregnant and postpartum women, we ensure that mothers and infants have ongoing sources of primary and preventive health care and that their basic needs (housing, psychosocial, nutritional and educational support) are met. Following risk assessments and screening for perinatal depression, case managers provide linkages with appropriate services and education. Most services are delivered through home visiting. Mothers and infants are followed from entry into prenatal care through 2 years after delivery. The project has strong collaborative linkages with State programs including Title V MCH Block Grant, Medicaid, State Child Health Insurance Program, and with local agencies and services.

Success: Since the introduction of Healthy Start in 1997, we have seen a steady downward trend in American Indian infant mortality within the project area, with the disparity gap narrowing between White and American Indian infants. Other trends include a marked increase in first trimester prenatal care, lower prematurity rates, an increase in those securing a medical home, increased screening for pregnancy and postpartum health risks, and increased use of culturally competent elements in policies, guidelines and trainings.

Mental & Social Emotional Health

Depression Among American Indian and Alaska Native Women in Michigan

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Program Forms

The Cancer Prevention and Control programs address cancer disparities in tribal communities by providing technical support for primary prevention, early detection, and survivor needs .


Gikinawaabi was designed to ground early learning activities in our traditional lifeways.  The skills needed for early reading, math, and language are all inherent in our culture.  In today’s world, we recognize the importance that children’s experience in school has on the rest of their life.  We also recognize connecting children to their lifeways and language also helps them throughout their lives.  The content of Gikinawaabi targets specific school readiness skills by utilizing the innate richness of our Anishinaabe way of life.


FFPSA/Family Spirit

The Federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) was enacted to turn the focus of the current child welfare system toward keeping children safely with their families to avoid the trauma that results when children are placed in out-of-home care.  In Michigan, one of th eways this will be achieved is through expanding effective home visitation services for families encountering the child welfare system and to support families to prevent them from encountering the child welfare system.  Only evidence-based programs listed on the Title IV-E Clearinghouse are eligible for FFPSA funding.  Parents as Teachers, Healthy Families America, Nurse Family Partnership, and Family Spirit (listed on the FFPSA Clearinghouse as a Promising Program) are the eligible models for expansion.  Communities were chosen based on data and community needs.

The goal of this initiative is to increase the participating in home visiting to decrease the need for families to encounter the child welfare system and to support families with involvement in the child welfare system to decrease child abuse and neglect and children entering the foster care system.  The Family Spirit/FFPSA program will ensure culturally appropriate services are provided to our tribal families meeting the criteria listed above.


Issue Briefs & Reports

More information coming soon.

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Childhood is Sacred

The Cancer Prevention and Control programs address cancer disparities in tribal communities by providing technical support for primary prevention, early detection, and survivor needs .


Quick Access to Resources

Infant Safe Sleep


Welcome to our Infant Safe Sleep Resource Site.  We have a number of resources to help parents, providers, and tribal home visitors to follow safe sleep guidelines.  This website is intended to be a resource guide for our tribal community to honor our newborn babies and prevent sudden unexpected infant deaths. Explore the links above to learn more about what you can do to be sure every baby reaches their first birthday.

The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan would further like to respectfully acknowledge valuable contributions, collaboration, and support of our many partners in the development of these resources, including our fellow Indigenous wisdom-keepers, graphic artists, media specialists, Federally Recognized Tribes, partner agencies, and grant funders you see throughout this page.

Explore the resources below to learn more about what you can do to be sure every baby reaches their first birthday.


Digital Stories

Additional Resources

We would like to acknowledge the work and dedication of the Michigan Public Health Institute in continuing to support our work around Infant Safe Sleep for their work in mining data, analyzing and synthesizing the data into this valuable brief.

The following four documents are information sheets referred to as, “Indigenous Infant Safe Sleep Series.” It is our intention to support Indigenous families and providers with information that promotes safe sleep for all babies while also supporting the different ways we carry and nurture our children’s development. 
It should be noted, that cradleboard styles and designs vary greatly across tribes and communities. We invite anyone who would like to know more to please seek out others in your local tribe or community for more information. 
Furthermore, we would like acknowledge our project partner, Wisdom-Keeper, and Indigenous Doula/Trainer, Raeanne Madison (MPH, Bois Forte Band Ojibwe Crane Clan).
Additional acknowledgement goes to Mexican Indigenous Artist living and working in Anishinaabe Territory, Celeste Contreras, for her beautiful mom and cradleboard design.