Published on September 02, 2022
As our nation continues to grapple with many divisive issues, we must not lose sight of the areas where we can find consensus. In Texas, even in the midst of an important election where partisanship is at its height, we have to ask what unites us, and we know it’s our compassion for mothers and young children. Here in Fort Worth, we can take initiative now to improve the lives of women and families across our city, and that starts with maternal and infant healthcare.
September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. In Fort Worth and Tarrant County, we have an infant mortality crisis that varies dramatically by ZIP code. For example, the infant mortality rate in the 76104 ZIP code is significantly higher than the rate in neighboring 76107. In Tarrant County alone, there are at least six infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
Healthcare providers all agree — infant and maternal mortality is directly related to the level of care mother and child receive before and after birth.
But thriving families require more than just adequate healthcare — they need the infrastructure of community support and opportunities for advancement. This requires a holistic approach that includes our healthcare partners, our childcare and educational providers, mental health services, and many others.
In light of this crisis, a group of Fort Worth stakeholders and CEOs of service agencies have assembled to collaborate in a new way to better serve the women, children, and families in our community. Together, we invite all partners to join us in blazing a trail to provide a better system of care for Fort Worth mothers and their children.
In the coming months, we will work together to fund programs that focus on maternal healthcare outcomes; we will partner with existing City and county programs to ensure mothers and children have better access to support services like quality childcare and wraparound assistance; we will better support community-based foster care and long-term outcomes for women and the children they explore parenting options for; we will envision and work to support a safer childhood for Fort Worth families; and we will identify priorities for the upcoming legislative session, including addressing the childcare crisis and championing the Texas House’s efforts to expand postpartum healthcare and support services.
Today, we are changing the story — from talking about women and babies simply surviving, to taking action that leads to women and babies thriving in Fort Worth. We look forward to doing this worthwhile work together.
Mattie Parker, Mayor, City of Fort Worth
Wayne Carson, CEO, ACH Child and Family Services
Julie Evans, CEO, Alliance for Children
Michael Sanborn, President, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center — Fort Worth
Father Anthony Chandler, Interim President & CEO, Catholic Charities Fort Worth
Carol Klocek, CEO, Center for Transforming Lives
Kara Waddell, President & CEO, Child Care Associates
Rick Merrill, President & CEO, Cook Children’s Health Center
Mark Melson, CEO, Gladney Center for Adoption
Dr. Karen Duncan, CEO, JPS Health Network
Susan Garnett, CEO, MHMR of Tarrant County
Dr. Stuart D. Flynn, Dean, TCU Burnett School of Medicine
Barclay Berdan, CEO, Texas Health Resources
Dr. Michael Williams, President, UNT Health Science Center
Leah M. King, President & CEO, United Way of Tarrant County
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