Asked Questions About the DC Developing Families Center
the DC Developing Families Center help low- income women and their
families in the District of Columbia?
breaks new ground with the breadth and depth of its services. DCDFC
• A birth center and planned hospital births
• Prenatal care and health education
• A drop-in center and family support services
• Early childhood development services
• Well-woman and well-child health services
• Job training and continuing education
Are there similar
centers throughout the nation?
No, this is the first time a birth center is being
combined with other family support services, child care, and preventive
health services for children to provide for the well-being of families.
does DCDFC address the special needs of women in the underserved
communities of the District of Columbia?
Community members were involved every step of the
way in planning for this one-stop care center. Informal focus groups
revealed that many women feel they are not being treated with respect
and dignity by their caregivers. The birth center model emphasizes
giving women the tools and information they need to be active in
their own prenatal and well-woman care.
does the DC Birth Center make a difference in the infant death rate
in the District of Columbia?
The DC Birth Center addresses the problem of infant
mortality by encouraging women to take part in their own prenatal
care. Women learn about good nutrition and proper care for themselves
during pregnancy, which helps ensure a healthy baby. The program
also teaches women how to care for their babies once they are born.
Partnering with the Healthy
Babies Project to provide case management and social services
and other supports helps families overcome barriers they face in
getting regular care. Partnering with the Nation’s
Capital Child and Family Development Infant and Toddler Program
to provide developmentally appropriate services and learning environments,
often for babies born in the DC
Birth Center service, promotes the physical, intellectual, and
social/emotional health, development, and safety of young children.
a birth center an effective way to deliver babies in a low-income,
When Ruth Lubic, a MacArthur Foundation “genius”
awardee, helped open a birth center in New York’s low-income,
inner-city South Bronx neighborhood, she was met with the same question.
Giving birth can be an empowering experience, which carries over
into family and community life. The DC Birth Center expects to have
nurse-midwives attend 250 births per year, including planned hospital
births for women who do not qualify as being at low risk.
is a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award?
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation every year names Fellows
who receive $375,000 over 5 years and health insurance coverage
for the same period. MacArthur Fellowships are unrestricted, “no
strings attached” awards in support of creative individuals,
not projects or organizations. Recipients are free to use the awards
as they please. The Foundation does not require or expect specific
products or reports from MacArthur Fellows. Dr. Lubic utilized her
award to subsidize her several years of DCDFC development work.
birth centers reimbursed by Health Plans?
Most major health insurers contract with birth centers
for reimbursement. In a national survey of birth centers, these
insurers included companies such as Aetna/US Healthcare, Blue Cross/Blue
Shield, CHAMPUS and Humana to name a few. The DC Birth Center honors
Medicaid and other major insurance plans.
much did it cost to build the DCDFC?
Hard and soft construction costs were estimated at
$2,150,000. That amount, which does not include the appraised value
of the building and land, has been raised.
is funding the DCDFC?
Funds have come from the private, public, and business
communities. Building renovation and programs have been supported
by grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg
Foundation, the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, the Cafritz Foundation,
the Philip Graham Fund, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and many
other corporations and individuals. Public sector funders include
the federal Healthy Start Program through the DC Department of Health,
the Early Head Start Program, the Child Care Block Grant through
the DC Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood, and
the DC Department of Housing and Community Development.