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Milwaukee Partners With Faith Communities To Combat Infant Deaths

Program Aims To Connect Parents To Services Through Churches

Joe Nitz (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett plans to launch a new initiative Saturday to reduce infant deaths.

The effort is called the Strong Baby Sanctuary Initiative. It involves getting the city’s faith community to act as a bridge between pregnant women and new moms, and the resources available to them.

In Wisconsin, 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely, a risk factor for infant mortality, and African Americans are almost twice as likely as whites to have babies born too soon.

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Courtney Rogaczewski, Associate State Director for the March of Dimes Wisconsin Chapter, said that partnering with faith communities is a good way to reach parents who could use services the most.

“The moms, babies and families in those communities can go to the church which is already a trusted entity to them—especially in their smaller communities—and the sanctuary is where they can provide resources,” she said.

Rogaczewski said churches will be able to point people to agencies or programs that provide prenatal care, food and housing.