Moms and babies in Flint, Michigan, are getting a prescription for cash.
Rx Kids, which officially launched this week, is the first program to offer guaranteed basic income to expectant mothers and their children.
Women who sign up for the program will receive $1,500 while they are pregnant. There are no strings attached to the money. It can be spent on everything from food to rent. After the child is born, families will receive $500 a month for the baby's first year of life.
“This first-in-the-nation initiative boldly reimagines how society supports families and children — how we care for each other,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attish, who leads the program.
The money for the program comes from public and private funds. The program believes $55 million will be needed to cover the cost of newborns and their families over the next five years. Rx Kids says $43 million of that money has already been raised.
To qualify for the program, a person must be a Flint resident and be pregnant or give birth in 2024 or later.
“Investing in strong families is an investment in Flint’s future,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.
Rx Kids said Flint was selected for this program because it's the poorest city in the state, with approximately 70% of children in the city living in poverty.
"This universal basic income program will lift families out of poverty and improve health outcomes," Neeley said. "Our prayer is that we will improve maternal and infant health, and help Flint families raise strong, healthy babies.”
The universal basic income idea for new mothers is not new. A program due to launch in Philadelphia this year targets new mothers who live in certain areas of the city and make less than $100,000. They will be given $1,000 monthly payments during pregnancy and through the first year of the child's life.
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