HARRISBURG – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved legislation today that would extend early intervention services to newborn and infant children of mothers affected by postpartum depression (PPD), according to Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).
Pennsylvania already has a monitoring system in place to protect infants who suffer from certain medical conditions such as low birth weight or lead poisoning, as well as those born into potentially dangerous environments, including children born to chemically dependent mothers, homeless children and infants who suffer from abuse and neglect.
Senate Bill 200 would add PPD to the list of conditions that are monitored through the existing state program to determine families in need of assessments, tracking and early intervention services.
The American Psychological Association estimates that more than one in seven new mothers experience PPD. The condition can adversely affect a baby’s cognitive development, and carries an increased risk of abuse and neglect.
“Postpartum depression can have a profound effect on new mothers and their children, and the consequences on families can be crippling,” Bartolotta said. “Pennsylvania already has a system to monitor children and families who are at risk. Adding postpartum depression to the list of conditions that qualify for monitoring will ensure all families get access to the services they need.”
About 21,000 babies and mothers in Pennsylvania annually are believed to suffer from PPD, and the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all mothers be screened for the condition.
Bartolotta introduced the bill along with Senator Judy Schwank (D-11).
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