Cash As Care
Unconditional Cash Offers Critical Intervention for Families during Pregnancy through Early Childhood
Cash support is an economic and health intervention that decreases inequities in birth outcomes, maternal well-being, and early development. With the arrival of a new baby, families often experience a decrease in income, along with an increase in expenses and debt. In fact, the birth of a child increases the likelihood of living in poverty by 33 percent. Programs that provide cash to mothers help them prioritize their health and make economic choices to benefit their families.
Perigee Fund has invested in projects across the country that provide families with unconditional monthly cash allowances starting during pregnancy or at birth to support maternal health, child development, and overall family well-being. These efforts will directly support up to 1,725 pregnant and birthing families.
- Baby’s First Years is the first project of its kind, designed to assess whether an additional $4,000 of family income during early childhood would cause the improvements in child development we know are correlated with child poverty reduction. Baby’s First Years supports 1,000 low-income families, 80 percent of whom are Black or Hispanic, in greater New Orleans, New York City, the Twin Cities, and the Omaha metro area. The findings can be found here.
- The Abundant Birth Project (ABP) is a pregnancy guaranteed income program that started in San Francisco for communities at the highest risk of preterm birth. The San Francisco pilot program provided $1000 per month during pregnancy and six months postpartum to buffer against racialized economic insecurity and prevent adverse birth outcomes, which have long-lasting health and developmental impacts for babies.
- ABP is expanding across five CA counties (San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, and Riverside) in a project called the California Abundant Birth Project. The goal is to reach 950 participants, allowing ABP to be evaluated at scale. The ABP Evaluation research is being conducted by researchers from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Oregon Health & Science University, and community members from all five counties.
- The Nest, a guaranteed income program operated by Hummingbird Indigenous Family Services (HIFS) in Washington State provides $1,250 per month in unconditional cash to 150 American Indian/Alaska Native and Pacific Islander families from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday, plus $5,000 to seed an educational savings account. The program aims to increase families’ health and spirit of abundance and is operated by a team rooted in indigenous culture, community connection, and healing practices.
These projects are designed to help advocates and policymakers learn from the ways families benefit from unconditional cash support and greater economic stability during this critical phase of life. Perigee Fund’s goal is to support families directly and to increase the body of knowledge and data about the connection between cash and positive maternal-child outcomes.
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