State Giving Pregnant Women What?

Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash

In an effort to improve birthing outcomes, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced on Monday (March 20) that it would be introducing a city program to provide pregnant residents with $1,000 monthly cash payments.

The program, titled the Philly Joy Bank, will commence as a pilot of the Philadelphia Community Action Network, with 250 pregnant Philadelphians chosen to participate in the pilot.

The Philadelphia Community Action Network (PhillyCAN), a broad coalition aimed at reducing racial disparities in infant mortalities, secured funding from Spring Point Partners and the William Penn Foundation, enabling it to kickstart the program.

To be eligible for the cash payments, residents must be expecting at the time of applying, reside in Cobbs Creek, Nicetown-Tioga, and Strawberry Mansion — areas with the highest rates of very low birth weights — and have a household income less than $100,000 a year.

The department is pursuing a launch date for the project sometime early next year, with a fundraising goal of $6 million, of which it has already received $3 million in contributions.

Reporting by The Philadelphia Inquirer reveals that expectant mothers would receive the cash payments for 18 months, including a year postpartum.

Philadelphia, the sixth most populated city in the U.S., has the highest infant mortality rate, with more babies dying in the first year of life than in any of the other top 10 most populated cities.

When the data is divided by race and ethnicity, Black infants are four times more likely than White infants to die before their first birthday, according to data from the city’s health department.