This manual is organized into chapters dedicated to "the big picture," or the theoretical framework of maternal and child health, and "the ABC's," which delve into the day-to-day operational aspects of MCH programs.
Managing state programs for maternal and child health and children with special health care needs is never easy, although it is greatly rewarding. Ours is a complex and demanding job that often challenges conventional wisdom and requires a high degree of sophistication and creativity. There will be times that you'll feel like you have a split personality — you will experience many days filled with routine, mundane and even boring administrative tasks that seem to never end. Other days will be filled with fast-paced decisions made-on-the-run that fill you with terror of making an error that may cost your programs dearly. Just by virtue of the position you hold, you have the most incredible opportunity to make a lasting and positive impact on the health of your jurisdiction's women, infants, children, youth, children with special health care needs and their families. Fortunately you will not be alone in your work - you will find that there are others dedicated to quality health services.
Many people will help you along the way if you are willing to ask questions, listen to their ideas and give them a try, including your peers across the country, federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) staff, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) members and staff, academic and research centers, and informed families, to name just a few. Asking others knowledgeable about Title V programs and acting on their advice may mean the difference between being able to "just get by" in the job or really excelling as an outstanding and respected state Title V leader.
For many years, the leadership of AMCHP observed the rapid changes in the states, such as reorganization of state agencies, strained and disappearing state and federal budget resources, and shortages of trained maternal and child health personnel. With the turnover of state Title V leaders and the approaching retirement of the Baby Boom generation, we saw a need to assure a common grounding in the "basics" of maternal and child health services for the newest leaders of state MCH and CSHCN programs.
To create a manual for the next generation of leaders, AMCHP contracted with two experts in the field, Kathy Peppe and Catherine Hess. The following guide will give you an overview of block grant history, administrative know-how and tips for success from MCH leaders.*
AMCHP represents state public health leaders and others working to improve the health and well-being of women, children, youth and families, including those with special health care needs. AMCHP is proud to bring you this guide for new MCH leaders. Deborah Dietrich, Stephanie McDaniel, Meg Booth and Lisa Cain played key staff roles in the development of this guide. AMCHP members served on the focus group to help shape the manual, and AMCHP board members provided vital input. We envision this manual as a timeless tool to help a new MCH leader gain the confidence necessary to perform well, set priorities and maintain accountability during the first year on the job. We want this to be a tool that can be shared at national workshops and meetings or wherever new Title V managers may gather. We hope you find this guide to be a useful reference when you are pondering your role and the direction in which you want to take your MCH program.
Welcome to the maternal and child health family!
Sally Fogerty, B.S.N., M.Ed.
*In this document, we use "MCH" to denote all family health programs, including maternal and child health and children with special health care needs.