Maternal & Child Health (MCH)

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The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness worldwide. Visit our website to learn more.

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Stay on Track with Vaccines

Since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a significant drop in well-child visits. Holding off on doctor’s visits can delay vaccines, screenings, and necessary referrals.

For children younger than age 2, it is necessary to continue well-child appointments. Postponing vaccines may result in avoidable illnesses and disease. Delaying well-child screenings can cause missed treatment opportunities. 

Some doctors offer appointments via phone or video when appropriate. However, there are times when in-person visits are necessary. If you are unsure whether your child’s vaccines are up to date, call your child's doctor.

Maternal and Child Health 

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) aims to improve the health of women of childbearing age, adolescents, children, infants, and children with special health care needs. Our staff supports the development of family-centered, community-based, coordinated systems of care.

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) is part of the Social Security Act (SSA) which began in 1935. It is one of the largest federal block grant programs. SSA was the start of the federal government's support to states to improve the health of mothers and children. In 1981, MCH became a block grant program. This resulted in a merge of seven categorical programs into one block grant. MCH has changed over time but maintains the focus on maternal and child health and well-being.  

Recently, MCH has ranked our priorities based on the needs of Texas. The list of priorities will support our vision and reflect the needs across Texas. The process includes a team approach by including MCH stakeholders, especially families. MCH has also arranged our webpages according to age groups and related programs:

Women’s and Infant Health – Women (ages 18-44) and Infants (birth to 1 years old) – see our programs and information about Healthy Texas Mothers and Babies, Breastfeeding, Women’s and Maternal Health, Perinatal Depression, Parenting, Provider Resources, Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System, Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, and related resources. 

Child Health – Children 1 to 12 years old – see our programs and information about MedCARES, Help Me Grow Texas, parenting, and related resources.

Adolescent Health – Youth 12 to 25 years old – see our programs and information about Texas Youth Action Network, our Rape Prevention and Education grant, information for Health Care Providers, Parents, Teens, Adolescent Resources, and other related resources.    

Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) – Children birth to 21 years old who have a medical issue that may impact their health – see our programs and information about Community Contractors, Transition, Medical Home, provider information, resources for contractors, and related resources.

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) is an important partner in our work. AMCHP is a national resource, partner, and advocate for DSHS MCH leaders.  

Publications available through Maternal and Child Health:

A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children 

The guide provides information about the development, health, and safety of children from birth to 5 years old. As per House Bill 1240, enacted by the 81st Legislative Session, a physical copy of the guide is available for free to providers who provide prenatal care or deliver an infant of a pregnant woman enrolled in Medicaid. Eligible providers include staff of hospitals and birthing centers, as well as physicians, nurse midwives, and midwives. 

This guide is designed for Medicaid-enrolled women receiving the above-mentioned services, the father of the infant, or another adult caregiver. The guide is offered in English and Spanish.

For eligible providers, you can order the guide here: http://ebestpress.com/

For those who are not eligible and would still like an electronic copy, you can download the guide in .pdf format here:

  For a reference to the Health and Safety Code, Section 161.501-161.502, click the following link: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.161.htm#161.501

Information for Parents of Newborns

According to Texas law, physicians, certified nurse midwives, direct entry midwives, hospitals, and birthing centers that provide prenatal care to a pregnant woman during gestation or at delivery will provide the woman with information on immunization, newborn screening, postpartum depression and shaken baby syndrome.

You can get this pamphlet in .pdf format by downloading it from here:

  • English (Revised Jan. 2016) (454KB PDF) 
  • Spanish (Revised Feb 2016) (6166K PDF)

Or you may order it directly through the HHSC Warehouse at http://hhsc.mypinnaclecart.com/ or call them at (512) 250-7162 for assistance with your order. The stock numbers are:  #1-316 – English; #1-316a - Spanish

Safe Sleep For Babies

MCH partnered with the Department of Family & Protective Services to create a “Safe Sleep Checklist” and public service announcement (PSA). The checklist can be printed out for any parent who wants to check their baby’s sleep environment for safety. Providers may also want to keep copies in their waiting room.

You can download the booklet in .pdf format here:

Safe Sleep for Babies: Safe Sleep Checklist
(41Kb, PDF, Viewing Information

You can view the PSA here:

Safer Sleep for Babies: Precautions for All Parents and Infants
(977Kb, PDF, Viewing Information)

Safe Sleep for Babies: A Community Training

DSHS and the Department of Family & Protective Services developed a training for talking with parents, grandparents, and caregivers about the best practices for safe infant sleep. This training manual can be used by service providers of all types. It is formatted in a train-the-trainer style with frequently asked questions, tips about presenting information to parents, and caregivers and parent handouts. Topics covered include myths and facts about safe sleep; crib safety; and how to talk with grandparents, day care staff, and babysitters about safe sleep. Materials may be used in a workshop or classroom type setting or portions may be taken for use in an office or home visit as needed.

You can get the training guide in .pdf format by downloading it here:

Umbilical Cord Blood Banking and Donation Brochure

HB 709 requires physicians (and other people permitted by law to attend a pregnant woman during gestation or at delivery of an infant) to provide the woman with the Umbilical Cord Blood Banking brochure before the third trimester of the woman’s pregnancy or as soon as reasonably feasible.

You can get this brochure in .pdf format by downloading it from here:

You may order it by calling the HHSC Warehouse at http://hhsc.mypinnaclecart.com/ or call them at (512) 250-7162. The stock numbers are: #6-73 – English; #6-73A - Spanish

Participating Cord Blood Hospitals and Banks

Food, Fun and Games: Healthy Activities for Children in Child Care

In child care, teaching opportunities abound! Our booklet provides examples of low to no-cost activities that encourage nutrition and physical activity into daily routines.

You can download the booklet in .pdf format here: Food, Fun and Games (7025Kb, PDF, Viewing Information)

Or you may order it directly through the HHSC Warehouse at http://hhsc.mypinnaclecart.com/ or call them at (512) 250-7162 for assistance with your order. The stock number is:  # 1-182

Trainings and resources available for MCH professionals:

Resources for Child Care Providers Online Training Modules

Texas AgriLife offers FREE online courses on topics ranging from safe sleep to nutrition to breastfeeding. They are relevant for all types of caregivers – child care staff, parents, teachers, health care professionals. Some courses are multilingual - available in Spanish and Vietnamese. Visit AgriLife’s website for a list of all the courses here.  

Title V Fee-For-Service: Prenatal contractors may provide care and bill Title V for two visits if the pregnant woman is in the process of applying for and enrolling in the CHIP Perinatal Program application process. Visit our Health and Human Services Commission’s website here for more information.

CHIP Perinatal Information: Current Information can be found on the HHSC website:  https://chipmedicaid.org/en/CHIP-Perinatal

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Texas families with uninsured children may be eligible for health insurance through Children's Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). For more information and to apply, visit the CHIP Website

Raise Awareness of National Suicide Prevention: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national, 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to all those in suicidal crisis who are seeking help. Individuals seeking help can dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Locate answers to many frequently asked questions regarding the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Find out more.

For more information about Maternal and Child Health in Texas, please contact us at:

Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 776-7373: Phone
(512) 458-7658: Fax
TitleV@dshs.texas.gov

   

External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These external links may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. 

Last updated September 29, 2020