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Newborns in Shelter

Newborns in Shelter

The Newborns in Shelter research project is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI), Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Department of Homeless Services (DHS), Department of Social Services (DSS), and Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Using several sources of matched administrative data from 2008-2015, the team will analyze the characteristics and health of infants and of their mothers residing in NYC DHS shelters to examine birth outcomes, healthcare utilization, and child welfare involvement for this population.

Birthing parents experiencing housing instability are at excess risk of preterm births and their babies are more likely to be born with low birthweight. This is an urgent health equity issue, but current evidence is based on studies with small sample sizes. The findings from this research collaboration will improve understanding of the health of mothers and infants experiencing homelessness and will be used to support the development and evaluation of NYC agency programs for mothers and infants accessing social services. It will also inform programs and policies focused on improving well-being and health outcomes among this population, such as the New Family Home Visits Initiative, Newborn Home Visiting Program, and Nurse-Family Partnership. Each agency has its own role in the collaboration. CIDI will act as the clearinghouse for the research and convenes a multi-agency workgroup to review research questions and results to ensure action-oriented findings. CIDI also leads the analyses related to shelter utilization for parents and infants residing in shelter. DHS has been working to understand patterns of shelter utilization and health outcomes for this population and to develop programming in shelters and other models to support their needs. This research will inform their ongoing work.

CIDI partners with DOHMH’s Bureau of Epidemiology Services (BES), which conducted the administrative data matching and also leads analyses regarding health outcomes for mothers and infants using Medicaid, hospital records, and Vital Statistics data. The Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health (BMIRH) within DOHMH collaborates on analyses and operates a number of home visiting programs for mothers and infants, including the Newborn Home Visiting Program that is specifically targeted to families living in DHS shelters. These analyses will inform the programming of the home visiting programs and the design of the evaluation of the New Family Home Visits Initiative, which is being conducted by BMIRH.


In collaboration with
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
NYC Administration for Children's Services
NYC Department of Homeless Services
NYC Human Resources Administration
NYC Department of Social Services