Federal Expenditures on Maternal and Child Health in the United States
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The goals of this study are to estimate federal maternal and child health (MCH) expenditures and identify their sources. This analysis is intended to provide a broad view of MCH funding appropriations and a basis for discussion of whether funds could be better utilized for the benefit of the population served. Data on federal maternal and child health expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2006 were derived from examining federal legislation, department/agency budgets, and various web-based program documents posted by federal agencies. Based on selected criteria, we identified programs targeting children under 21 or pregnant/parenting women within the United States. The funding levels of agency programs for maternal and child health activities were determined and the programs briefly summarized. The identifiable funding for maternal and child health programs in FY 2006 approached $57.5 billion dollars. Funding sources for maternal and child health were concentrated within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but spread across several different agencies within the department and in the Departments of Defense, Education, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Multiple agencies and offices often funded related activities, without evidence of a common underlying strategy. Federal maternal and child health funding mechanisms may lead to a fragmentation in maternal and child health activities. The funding and service delivery apparatus would benefit from an integrative MCH infrastructure approach to pediatric research, service delivery, and data collection/access that incorporates life-course and social/environmental determinants perspectives.