Cradle KC supporting, advocating for Black maternal health

Cradle Kansas City is a collective impact initiative created to address infant mortality in the Kansas City region.

This collective gathers partners who work in the family support sector, including maternal child health organizations, medical systems, education, housing, and transportation services. These organizations and individuals work to uplift the voice of the community and provide support to local families. Our goal at Cradle KC is to close the health equity gap and ensure all Kansas City babies are healthy babies. 

This initiative and the Cradle Community Action Board were created in 2018 in response to the increasing infant mortality rate and widened gap of infant/maternal death rates between Black and White babies and mothers. We are constantly working to identify issues within Black maternal health care, along with actively advocating and providing support to Black mothers and families. 

Our goal at Cradle KC is to close the health equity gap and ensure all Kansas City babies are healthy babies. 

We initiate and complete the majority of our work behind the scenes, rather than directly within the community, including policy and advocacy discussions, distribution of information and resources, and providing support to other maternal child health initiatives. 

Here is some of our work done to impact Black maternal health and health care:

  • Sharing information, education, and resources with the Plan Your Pause social media campaign to help individuals and families understand the importance of family planning and taking a pause between pregnancies.
  • Hosting car seat events to help families obtain the proper equipment to travel safely with their baby or infant.
  • Distributing tools and education materials to new and expecting families in our communities to ensure they are prepared to better care for their babies.
  • Supporting the Every Baby to 1 initiative to make sure religious communities have the support and education they need.
  • Working with policy makers and organizations to better support Black families before, during, and after giving birth.
  • Donating peer-to-peer hours to the community in food support and safe sleep education and resources.
    • Over 2000 peer-to-peer hours donated to the community in 2021
  • Created a series of safe sleep videos along with Every Baby To 1, the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Community Action Team, and our other partners.
  • Spoke and advocated in several conferences and discussions, including:
    • Caring vs. Healing: Women’s Work – A discussion of gender and racial disparities in health care and some pragmatic solutions.
    • MATCH Coalition 2021 Fall Virtual Hill Briefing – Data Deficiency: How information is crucial to resolving the maternal health crisis.
    • Birth Equity Panel – Heartland Conference on Health Equity and Patient Centered Care

While we are doing quite a bit to help improve Black maternal health care and mortality, we can’t be the only ones dedicated to this drastic issue. Mothers are dying, babies aren’t surviving the first year of life, and families are being split apart; for those who don’t have a voice, how many are losing their lives because no one is listening? 

CradleKC aims to give mothers and families a voice and be the echo to ensure their voices ring clear, especially in minority and underserved communities. Along with giving them a voice, we are listening and making sure other people are listening, too. Black mothers and families desperately need other organizations to help in this fight or little to no change will occur. Cradle KC is here to show the reality of the Black maternal health crisis so that everyone can fully grasp the severity of the situation and work to make a change. 

To learn more about Cradle KC and the work that we do to help mothers, babies, and families in the community, visit the Cradle KC website, contact Mariah Chrans, or contact Shalese Clay


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Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006