Philadelphia Trial Program to Pay Pregnant Women $1K Per Month

Getty Images/Mykola Sosiukin

Philadelphia officials have begun fundraising to launch a trial program that would give expectant mothers in certain communities $1,000 a month, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The city’s Department of Public Health is looking to start the Philly Joy Bank pilot program by early 2024, to “help ease racial disparities in infant mortality rates,” according to the report. Officials said Philadelphia has the highest infant mortality rate during a baby’s first year alive out of the top ten most populated cities in the United States.

“Infant mortality in Philadelphia is a solvable crisis,” health commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said in a statement. “We know that being able to better support pregnant people and new parents helps keep babies alive. As the poorest big city in the country, this is not always easy, especially in areas of the city that are being crushed by generational poverty and systemic racism.” 

The report cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing that the infant mortality rate in Philadelphia was 6.1 in 2017, which is higher than the national average of 5.8. 

A 2021 city report found non-Hispanic black women accounted for 58% of pregnancy-related deaths from 2013 to 2018, even though they were only responsible for 43% of births in Philadelphia during that period,” according to the report. 

The Philly Joy Bank will first include pregnant women who live in communities with low birth weights, such as Cobbs Creek, Strawberry Mansion, and Nicetown-Tioga. Under the program, which would have enough funding to help 250 women, new mothers would receive cash payments for 18 months, including one year postpartum, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Officials said they need to raise $6 million for the program, and said they already received $3 million from the William Penn Foundation and Spring Point Partners.

In order to qualify for the program, expectant mothers must have an annual household income below $100,000.

“There are no rules for how the money must be spent,” the report states. 

Officials said the program will also include “voluntary support” services, such as financial counseling, doulas, lactation support, and home visits.


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