As we reflect on our recent Mother’s Day, I encourage Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud to support proven programs that work to improve the health of mothers and families in our state, particularly the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant. Here are just five ways in which Title V works for us:

• Assures the healthiest start for babies by focusing on the health of moms before they become pregnant.

• Promotes healthy pregnancies.

• Educates families and providers on preventable risk factors for prematurity.

• Promotes newborn screening.

• Promotes healthy families through a continuum of early childhood services.

Collectively these and other efforts have contributed to a reduction in infant mortality rates in more than 90 percent the Title V MCH program was created in 1935. This is a public health achievement we can all be proud of, yet we continue to rank behind nearly all other industrialized countries in both infant and maternal mortality rates.

As Congress prepares its spending bills for the coming year, I hope it makes sure that the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant remains a priority so that we can become the best in the world.

Shannon KingBenton