About Rx Kids
More potent than any prescribed pill, Rx Kids aims to improve health, hope, and opportunity. Science demonstrates the lifelong consequences of early adversity but also the promise of science-based, community-driven solutions. For many families, income plunges, and poverty spikes right before a child is born and remains high throughout the first year. Built on the tremendous success of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty to its lowest level in recorded history, and in line with global evidence, Rx Kids boldly reimagines how we care for each other by walking alongside families during the challenging time of pregnancy and infancy.
The Science is Clear
Evidence shows that no-strings-attached cash has immediate and long-term positive impacts. Rx Kids will build on this by looking at how cash prescriptions:
- Improve maternal and infant health in the areas of mortality/morbidity, postpartum depression, and breastfeeding.
- Could help in bettering early childhood health through things like lead screening, immunization, early literacy, and stress reduction.
- Improve adult health through physical and mental health, happiness/hope/dignity – as well as reductions in parental stress, partner violence, and may even reduce substance abuse.
- Could improve greater access to health processes like baby well checks, maternal-infant support programs, enrichment activities – and decreasing involvement of child protective services.
- Help families meet their basic needs like food security and housing stability can buffer families against the highest-in-the-life course increase in poverty that accompanies childbirth.
What Does the Research on Cash Say?
- Hundreds of studies show that unconditional cash transfers can be life-changing across countries and contexts. Mothers and babies are no different, and early intervention is shown to have sustained health and development impacts years after cash is delivered.
- Healthier pregnancies: Multiple studies have found positive impacts of cash on birth weight, premature births, and breastfeeding, parental mental health, and food security.
- Improved early development: New research shows that $333 monthly cash transfers to low-income families boosted infants’ early cognitive development.
- Impact lasts into adulthood: Years after their moms received cash transfers, adult children experienced benefits across health, education, and nutrition, lifetime earnings, and reduced anxiety and depression.
- The 2021 Expanded Child Tax Credit lifted millions of families out of poverty and drove child poverty to a record low of 5.2 percent.
- Evidence shows numerous additional benefits to no-strings-attached cash, including reduced food insecurity and financial hardship, improved health for children and parents, better school performance, and reduced incidence of child abuse. Benefits extend into adulthood and far exceed the cost of the expanded tax credit.
Community and National Voices
Rx Kids will give every new mom in Flint the freedom and flexibility to raise their babies while paying the bills and putting food on the table. It will give every child born in Flint a fair shot at a bright future. We know that growing up in poverty is one of the leading causes of poor health, impacting everything from your ability to learn in school, graduate, and get a good-paying job. Rx Kids is an investment that will benefit the entire community. We know that happy, healthy babies become happier, healthier adults.Gretchen WhitmerMichigan Governor
As a mother of one who is expecting another bundle of joy into our family soon, I deeply understand the challenges that families and kids in Flint face. This is a life-changing program for moms in Flint. To me, it’s not just a program. It’s a lifeline. And a promise of support for every mother in our community.Alana TurnerFlint Mom Expecting Her Second Child
Investing in strong families is an investment in Flint’s future. Rx Kids will support mothers and children in Flint when they are most vulnerable. This blessing will lift families out of poverty and improve health outcomes. Our prayer is that we will improve maternal and infant health and help Flint families raise strong, healthy babies.Sheldon NeeleyCity of Flint Mayor
Countries across the globe have adopted unconditional child cash benefits and seen child poverty plummet and health improve, with some of the biggest impacts for infants. The historic 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit had the same effects in the U.S., but it was not renewed. Flint is leading the nation by building on this evidence and creating an easy-to-replicate playbook for how we care for our youngest kids.H. Luke ShaeferRx Kids Co-Director and University of Michigan Poverty Solutions Director
RxKids is living proof that now that Americans have seen what President Biden’s monthly Child Tax Credit did for dramatically lowering child poverty and lifting up all working families — there is no going back. With help from the American Rescue Plan, Governor Whitmer and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, RxKids is innovating on and expanding the Child Tax Credit for the all-important first year of life for children born in Flint. Instead of being a one and done pilot, I believe that RxKids is going to be a national model that will be replicated across the nation.Gene SperlingSenior Advisor to the President and American Rescue Plan Coordinator
This is transformational work that will change the trajectory for children and families positively for generations to come. We wholeheartedly support this life-changing and life-affirming work.Claudnyse D. Holloman, Esq.President and CEO, Voices for Children Advocacy Center
The idea of being able to help Flint babies to be successful from the womb through the entire first year of life is a unique opportunity, and some would say impossible, but over the last year, Dr. Mona has shown us that we can make this happen. Rx Kids is the type of support that will fill a void and offer an intentional level of added support by encouraging all of those important milestones and well-care visits for mom and baby. This is the type of program that can enhance the success rates of healthy kids and healthy families for generations to come.Ashley N. StrozierFlint Mom
Rx Kids is just the right solution to our city’s needs. When moms and babies are supported, we uplift a community village and help the next generations for years to come.Shearese StapletonMothers of Joy Institute for Parenting and Family Wellness, Inc. Executive Director
Rx Kids is a pediatrician’s dream come true.Dr. Lawrence ReynoldsRetired Flint Pediatrician, CHAP Medical Director
I am a parent and citizen of the city of Flint who has been helping Dr. Mona for almost a year on Rx Kids. When she first introduced it to the group, I instantly knew that it would be a huge task to achieve. With consistency and committed effort, the impossible is becoming a reality for the kids and residents of the city of Flint.Darwin HenceFlint Dad
Rx Kids will be a game changer for our patients.Dr. Omari YoungHurley Medical Center Obstetrics And Gynecology Residency Director
Poverty is one of the persistent social determinants of health that families face. For an impoverished family to have this financial opportunity, it can lead to a decrease in stress, depression, and anxiety, which are also social determinants of health. Another positive outcome for Flint families is an elevation of self-esteem because they are now financially abundant and responsible.Alison Montgomery-LittlejohnFlint Social Worker