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Improving Community Wellbeing by Supporting Moms

The New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers (MOMS) Partnership is located in New Haven Connecticut.  The partnership began in 2006. The initial origin of New Haven MOMS Partnership began, to improve children’s wellbeing and ability to reach their full potential, by developing a community-wide and accessible system that supports maternal mental health, assists mothers and caregivers to meet basic needs, and helps mothers develop secure, reliable relationships and engage in their environment.  

This is based on two tenets:

  • Mothers and caregivers’ face complex challenges such as 1) meeting the basic needs of her family, 2) stress, and 3) social isolation. 

  • It is critical to prevent children’s early-life adversity by providing them with secure, reliable relationships with parents who are able to buffer stresses in life.


MOMS incorporates these tenets by focusing on mothers who are key to a family’s foundation of optimal health and development. The work at MOMS Partnership includes providing research and leadership, mental health treatments aimed to mothers, a workforce literate in maternal mental health and based in the community, a system throughout New Haven of maternal mental health care, a network of experts for maternal mental health and family basic needs, and support for job readiness and family economic success.


The New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers (MOMS) Partnership was selected as a NOW Bright Spot because of their community and neighborhood based work to support mothers, addressing their needs holistically, including basic needs and behavioral health.


There are four community-based, MOMS Partnership HUB sites in New Haven where moms and caregivers have an opportunity to be introduced to the MOMS Partnership.  After, registering and completing an in-take survey, participants are provided an appointment for an assessment and connected with the programming that best meets their needs.

MOMS developed as a research collaboration program, with eight partner agencies, to study interventions for mothers and female caregivers that improve maternal mental health, by establishing city-wide community-based system of maternal mental health care, developing a network to assist mothers and caregivers with basic needs, and providing support for job readiness and family economic success.

MOMS Partnership is based on the premise of supporting and developing a network of experts for maternal mental health and family basic needs, job readiness and family economic success as well as providing research and leadership.


The Stop-and-Shop partnership with a local grocery store, has a MOMS Hub intake center in a prominent spot near customer service and also a second floor room for computer work stations, a separate space for private group sessions, and regular workshops and trainings for basic skills & job readiness.

MOMS hires Community Mental Health Ambassadors who are from the community to reach out to mothers in need, engage them in the program, and refer them to resources.


MOMS Partnership utilizes family and provider input to help develop public health support, prevention, maintenance and other strategies.  The program is constantly receiving new participants whose information and participation is informing the program.  Relationships, partnerships, new staff, and opportunities have helped MOMS organically grow as well as course change along the way.  The initial program began with Neighborhood MOMS Hubs and Community Ambassadors.  Along the way, MOMS has developed the MoMba phone app, Stress Management Classes, Personal Skills for Work Success, MOMS Moving to Work Program, and MoMba Live Long (Smoking Cessation Program).  

The Centers for Epidemiologic Study (CES-D) is a tool to assess depressive symptoms and is used by MOMS staff to evaluate progress.

The MOMS Partnership is a ten year longitudinal, prospective research program of mothers in New Haven.  The program collects indicators on a neighborhood, family, and individual level.  The program collects indicators on a neighborhood, family, and individual level.  

The program uses the National Institutes of Health Toolbox, in addition to computerized testing to measure both the mother’s and child(ren)’s executive function and stress reactivity.  Through clinical interviews and MOMS Hubs-based dyadic interactions with trained researchers, the program measures maternal psychopathology and parenting quality.


The program works to address adversity for children and mothers by reducing toxic and chronic stress, depression, barriers to basic needs, and maternal isolation as well as improving mothers’ social engagement, financial management and employment skills, and mother/child bonding and interaction. The foundation of MOMS is to welcome mothers and staff with their lived-experiences, based on an environment  of support and inclusion.


Dr. Megan V. Smith

Principal Investigator, New Haven MOMS Partnership

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