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Flint program will pay monthly stipend to babies born in the city

Beginning in January, 2024, children born in Flint will receive a monthly stipend of $500
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Beginning in January, 2024, children born in Flint will receive a monthly stipend of $500

A new program will provide a monthly stipend for babies born in Flint.

Around 1,200 babies are born in Flint in an average year.

Starting in January, 2024, each baby will receive $500 a month for the first year of life. Their mothers are also eligible for an additional $1,500 during their pregnancy.

It’s all part of the RX Kids program.

“We were tired, with our kids growing up, generation after generation, in poverty, that is no fault of their own,” said Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha, RX Kids program director.

She says the intent is to provide families with the means to buy diapers, baby food and other essentials, including paying rent.

Luke Shaefer is a professor of social work at the University of Michigan and also the director of Poverty Solutions at U of M. He also served as the co-director of the RX Kids program. He said the program targets a critical time in a child’s life.

“Focused on this first year of life….where babies brains double in size and so much of the life course shaped by what happens in that first year,” said Shaefer.

While similar projects have taken place in other parts of the world, Shaefer said this is the first time it’s been tried on a city-wide level.

RX Kids is receiving funding from the state of Michigan and the Mott Foundation. The project has secured roughly $35 million dollars, which should underwrite three of its planned five-year budget. Funding will primarily be channeled to pregnant women and newborns. The rest of the money will be spent on administration and scholarly research.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.