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An Historic Mother’s Day: Nearly 700 Flint Moms Have Enrolled in Rx Kids

By May 16, 2024Events, News

Flint just celebrated an historic Mother’s Day, with nearly 700 moms and babies enrolled in the Rx Kids program and more than $1 million in cash already prescribed. Rx Kids is the first citywide universal maternal and infant cash prescription program in the country.

To further celebrate Flint moms, the Rx Kids program, based at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, is hosting a special event for all moms with babies who are enrolled in the Flint Rx Kids program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the College of Human Medicine campus, 200 E. First Street, in Flint. 

The event will include a free professional photo session for Rx Kids babies born in 2024, an activity to make a special handprint keepsake, free foot and chair massages (provided by Healing Hands), free diapers (Greater Holy Temple and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan), children’s books and teddy bears while supplies last, refreshments, and more. 

“We are elated by the response to Rx Kids, and just want to show love and appreciation for the moms in Flint who have trusted us and who just celebrated the first Mother’s Day since Rx Kids launched,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, Associate Dean for Public Health in the College of Human Medicine and Director of the Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative and director of Flint Rx Kids. “The almost 90% uptake rate in the community is a strong indicator of the vital need for this program and its potential to empower and impact future generations of Flint kids and be a model for other communities around the country to alleviate childhood poverty. Flint is leading the nation in how best to support moms and families.” 

The costs associated with prenatal and early childhood care are burdensome for families. To provide relief to families and kids early in their lives, Rx Kids provides pregnant mothers in Flint who enroll in the program with $1,500 mid-pregnancy and $500 per month once the baby is born for the first year of their life.  

Rx Kids Mother's Day graphic with pictures of two moms with their babies.“The immediate enrollment numbers and early impact of Rx Kids on the Flint community is really encouraging,” said H. Luke Shaefer, professor of public policy, director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan and Rx Kids co-director. “The rapid enrollment shows that one of the most effective tools we have to fight childhood poverty is providing cash payments directly to families for them to use in the ways that best meet their immediate needs during the critical prenatal and first year periods of a child’s life.” 

In the months since Flint Rx Kids launched, the most powerful aspect has been simply hearing individual stories from mothers and families who have enrolled about the immediate impact on their lives.  

Alana Turner, a Flint mom who works two jobs, can ease back into her full work schedule and spend more time with her children as a result of enrolling in Rx Kids. She described it as, “giving her a little breathing room” and noted that she’ll have more time to be present for her baby.  

“I was just thrilled to know that someone cared enough about our community here in Flint to even organize this and put this together,” Turner said during a press conference after the program launched. “I think this is how moms should be supported everywhere.” 

Teagan Medlin, a Flint mom who enrolled in and has since completed an addiction recovery program, has been able to begin rebuilding her life with help through Flint Rx Kids. As a condition for regaining custody of her older children, she had to meet a court requirement proving she could pay for basic needs. The income provided through the program has helped her reunite her family. 

“I was really afraid,” said Medlin, who is now training to become an addiction recovery coach. “How am I supposed to get my kids back if I don’t have any income? It sort of gave you a foothold to where you could build a life for yourself and your kids.” 

The cash prescriptions have helped mothers who have lost income due to not being able to work as much during high-risk pregnancies, they’ve helped alleviate high costs for diapers, childcare, and other vital needs during the first year of a child’s life, and they’ve helped mothers feel cared for and supported in a wide range of other ways. 

“Rx Kids moms have shared moving stories about how cash prescriptions have relieved stresses and burdens and allowed them to think about new possibilities that previously felt inaccessible to them,” Dr. Mona said. “The impact of these payments ranges from helping fill immediate needs, like securing stable housing or transportation or assistance with vital household expenses like food or repairs, to being able to think toward the future by saving money for childcare or education costs down the road.”