Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program

(a program of the Department of Public Health)

The Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division in the California Department of Public Health’s Center for Family Health is responsible for overseeing programs and developing systems that protect and improve the health of California’s women of reproductive age, infants, children, adolescents, and their families by focusing on creating and maintaining strong partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies in public and private sectors.

MCAH carries out this mission through a variety of programs. The division allocates federal Title V block grant funds annually to local MCAH programs in 61 local health jurisdictions (LHJs) throughout California. Local MCAH programs are essential partners in accomplishing the statewide MCAH program mission and goals. The state MCAH program supports local MCAH staff as they work in their communities to develop and implement activities that protect and improve the health and well-being of mothers and children. The Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP), Black Infant Health (BIH) Program, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Program, and California Home Visiting Program (CHVP) are specialized CDPH/MCAH programs under the local MCAH system. For information on services or assistance in your area, please refer to the local health jurisdiction MCAH directory at


The purpose of the Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP) is to address the social, health, educational, and economic needs of expectant and parenting adolescents by (1) establishing local networks to provide necessary services to expectant and parenting teens and their children, and (2) providing voluntary case management services for expectant or parenting teens up to their 19th birthday that are focused on achieving the following goals:

  • Improving the health of the pregnant and parenting teen, thus supporting the health of the baby;
  • Improving graduation rates for pregnant and parenting teens;
  • Reducing repeat pregnancies for pregnant and parenting teens; and
  • Improving linkages and creating networks for pregnant and parenting teens.


The purpose of the Black Infant Health (BIH) Program is to improve health among African American mothers and babies and to reduce the black/white disparities by empowering pregnant and mothering African American women to make healthy choices for themselves, their families, and their communities.

BIH uses a group-based approach with complementary client-centered case management to help women develop life skills, learn strategies for reducing stress, and build social support. Clients participate in weekly group sessions (10 prenatal and 10 postpartum) designed to help them access their own strengths and set health-promoting goals for themselves and their babies. In addition to helping clients reinforce the skills and knowledge they develop in the group sessions, one-on-one case management ensures that clients are connected with the appropriate community and social services to meet their needs. Each woman culminates her participation in the program by finalizing her own individual Life Plan to guide her continued progress after BIH.


The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Program focuses on providing education on infant safe sleep practices and bereavement support services as well as SIDS awareness and risk reduction strategies to all Californians. Through the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, CDPH/MCAH provides funding to 61 local health jurisdictions to promote infant safe sleep activities in their community and receives and reviews data by the California SIDS surveillances system from the autopsy report, death scene protocols and public health professional visit forms. Lastly, the SIDS Program also funds a contractor to provide SIDS trainings to public health professionals and emergency personnel and also provide materials and resources to the local health jurisdictions and SIDS Community.


The California Home Visiting Program was created as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Home Visiting Program focus is to provide comprehensive, coordinated in-home services to support positive parenting and improve outcomes for families residing in identified at-risk communities. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) defines home visiting as an evidence-based, voluntary program offered to pregnant women or children birth to age 5. Programs are meant to target participant outcomes that include improved maternal and child health; prevention of child injuries, child abuse, and maltreatment; reduction of emergency department visits; improvement in school readiness and achievement; reduction in crime or domestic violence; improvements in family economic self-sufficiency; and improvements in the coordination of and referrals for other community resources and supports.

Currently, 25 sites in 24 local health jurisdictions are funded to provide services using one of two nationally recognized home visiting models: Healthy Families America (HFA) and Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP).

HFA is an evidence-based program in which families must be enrolled prenatally or within the first three months after an infant’s birth. Once enrolled, services are provided to families until the child turns 3 years of age. Individual programs select the specific characteristics of the target population they plan to serve; a program plan is then created based on the needs. HFA is designed for parents facing challenges such as single parenthood, low income, childhood history of abuse, substance abuse, mental health issues, and/or domestic violence. HFA uses paraprofessionals to provide services to enrolled families.

NFP is an evidence-based home visiting model that serves first-time, low-income mothers during pregnancy through two years postpartum. A client is enrolled in the program early in her pregnancy and receives her first home visit no later than the end of week 28 of her pregnancy. NFP provides one-on-one home visits by a trained public health nurse to participating clients.

Contact your local MCAH office for information for local home visiting programs,