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the Bureau of Family Health

The mission of the BFH is to protect and promote the health and well-being of women, children and families. 

The divisions under BFH include: Child and Adult Health Services, Community Systems Development and Outreach, Newborn Screening and Genetics, and the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant.

Division of Child and Adult Health Services
The mission of the Division of Child and Adult Health Services (DCAHS) is to provide proven and effective services to improve health outcomes and support vulnerable populations from birth through adulthood.  DCAHS aims to improve health equity, address social determinants of health, reduce infant mortality, improve birth outcomes, and improve child and adolescent health outcomes.  Initiatives to address these goals include:

  • partnering with the County and Municipal Health Departments to provide pre-conception, interconception maternal and child health services
  • preventing and reducing infant and childhood injuries or deaths through evidence based strategies
  • providing services for adolescents to prepare for adulthood, including support for family planning services and preventing adolescent relationship abuse, developing protective factors through mentoring
  • conducting the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitorying Systems PRAMS survey and Child Death Review activities and using information to inform the public health policies and programs
  • providing direct services for adults with special healthcare needs, including the Head Injury Program and Chronic Renal Disease Program

Division of Community Systems Development and Outreach
The mission of the Division of Community Systems Development and Outreach is to provide statewide leadership, in partnership with key stakeholders and families/caregivers, to create system changes at the state and local level to improve health and health related outcomes for at risk individuals and families.

  • ensuring families and caregivers serve as partners in the care and improvement of care of their children
  • building family centered healthcare services through the Medical Home Program
  • linking families with information and resources through the Special Kids Network
  • promoting breastfeeding awareness and activities in healthcare settings and communities
  • providing services for individuals with a variety of special health conditions

Division of Newborn Screening and Genetics Division of Newborn Screening and Genetics
The mission of the Division of Newborn Screening and Genetics (DNSG) is to screen newborns in Pennsylvania through the Newborn Screening and Follow-Up Program and the Newborn Hearing Screening Program.  These programs make every attempt to ensure that every newborn is tested for metabolic, endocrine, hemoglobin, heart disease and hearing loss prior to discharge from the hospital, birthing facility, or care of a midwife.  DNSG initiatives include:

  • providing follow-up services to ensure newborns with an abnormal test result receive appropriate confirmatory diagnosis and treatment
  • working with the contracted newborn screening laboratory to assess and make every attempt to ensure that newborns are screened in a timely manner and that results of the screenings are reported to the hospitals, birthing facilities, and midwives in a timely manner
  • convening and supporting the Newborn Screening and Follow-up Technical Advisory Board and the Infant Hearing Screening Advisory Committee which advises and makes recommendations to the Department on program regulation and administration, diagnostic testing, and technical support   
Title V Block Grant  

The Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant program acts as a safety-net provider for health care services and essential public health services for women, mothers, infants, children up to age 22, and children with special health care needs and their families. The program was created as part of the 1935 Social Security Act as a commitment to improving the health and well-being of the country’s mothers, children, and families.  


The Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal agency, oversees the Title V Block Grant program at the federal level. The Title V Block Grant is managed in Pennsylvania by the Bureau of Family Health in the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 


Each July, Pennsylvania submits a report to the federal agency which includes:

  •  Details on activities for the past year
  •  Details on future activities
  •  Budget information


Learn general information about the Title V Block Grant.

Needs and Capacity Assessment
Every five years, the Bureau of Family Health is required by the Title V Block Grant to do a Needs and Capacity Assessment:  a full study of the health of the Maternal and Child Health population in Pennsylvania, and the ability of the Bureau of Family Health to meet the needs of this population. 
The assessment looks at:
  •  Social issues
  •  Economic issues
  •  Political issues
  •  Environmental issues
  •  Statistical data
  •  Focus group feedback
  •  Bureau of Family Health abilities and partnerships
A summary of the 2015 Needs and Capacity Assessment is part of the Title V Block Grant 2014 Annual Report and 2016 Application.
At the end of the 2015 Needs and Capacity Assessment, Pennsylvania chose nine priorities to focus on for the next five-year programming cycle.  
2015 Block Grant Transformation
The block grant structure changed in 2015 with more importance placed on measuring state and program performance and including evidence-based strategies and measures into program planning. States will now divide their services and programming into six population domains:
  •  Women/Maternal Health
  •  Perinatal/Infant Health
  •  Child Health
  •  Children with Special Health Care Needs
  •  Adolescent Health
  •  Cross-cutting or Life Course
Over 20 National Outcome Measures and 15 National Performance Measures will be reported on by each state as a way to compare the health status of the Maternal and Child Health population between states and the nation.
Each state, including Pennsylvania, is now responsible for creating a State Action Plan. The State Action Plan links Pennsylvania‘s chosen priorities, programming goals, strategies, activities and performance measures together in a logical way.
Public Input
Send us your comments and questions! We welcome public input at any time.
Title V MCH Block Grant Coordinator
Bureau of Family Health
Division of Child and Adult Health Services
Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster St.
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701