New city initiative to offer care, health support for first-time parents

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A new city initiative aims to make first-time parents in the borough eligible for home visiting services after they have their baby.

New York City first lady Chirlane McCray announced the initiative Wednesday, saying it is set to offer up to six visits per family.

Officials described the new resources as "anchored in science and infused with mental health supports."

McCray and Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Oxiris Barbot explained it’s also an effort to relieve racial inequality in health care in the city for new mothers and their babies.

“Maternal depressive symptoms, financial stress, homelessness, housing insecurity, and job loss – collectively these stressors drive us to do something bold, because in the richest city in the country, we should not accept these inequalities,” said Dr. Barbot.

Some benefits will include help with infant feeding and safe sleep habits, health education and mental health screenings for anxiety and depression.

The home visits are also meant to point new families in the right direction to receive services, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

With the goal of reaching 45,000 families across the city, the city plans to invest $43 million a year by 2024.

McCray says she empathizes with parents who need support.

"Bill and I didn't have any family closeby, so we were pretty much on our own, like many new parents are,” she says. “So in New York City, we want every new family to receive support from a kind and caring expert in the comfort of their own home."

News 12 is told the benefits will start in Brooklyn, possibly in the spring, since it is home to the most deliveries across all five boroughs.

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