PROJECTLinking Depressed Mothers to Effective Services


The "Linking Depressed Mothers to Effective Services" research identifies service strategies and policy reforms that can help mothers, enhance young children's development, and prevent child abuse and neglect by connecting low-income depressed mothers of young children with treatment.

This project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, builds on prior research that shows why connecting these mothers to effective treatment is so important.  Research has already demonstrated that maternal depression is widespread among low-income mothers, and that if left untreated, it poses damage to young children's development.  Researchers have also shown that effective treatments exist, yet far too few mothers with depression receive them.

The goal of this project is to contribute to improvements in service systems and policies that dramatically improve mothers' receipt of effective treatment, thereby supporting young children's healthy development and preventing child abuse and neglect. 

Funded from 2008 through 2013, the Urban Institute team has produced several research and policy briefs around these issues, including a national estimate of the prevalence of depression among mothers with young children, a look at the role home visiting programs play in connecting depressed mothers to services and a discussion of state Medicaid and CHIP choices that can enhance delivery of medical, mental health, and related services to parents.

Currently the team is working on new research around state policy choices in Medicaid and CHIP, linkages between maternal depression and children's nutrition, and innovative approaches in WIC to support depressed mothers. The Urban Institute team is also collaborating with key policy makers at the federal level to advance the work on maternal depression and young children.



Related Projects

Key Researchers

Olivia Golden, Urban Institute
Marla McDaniel, Urban Institute
William Beardslee, Expert Consultant, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School
Jennifer Macomber, Expert Consultant
Tracy Vericker, Urban Institute
Karina Fortuny, Urban Institute
Embry Howell, Urban Institute

Funding Partners

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The Birth to Five Alliance
The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation

Research Areas Families Children and youth
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population