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learn title V history glossary
"To investigate and report upon all matters pertaining to the welfare
of children and child life among all classes of our people."

--P.L. 62-116; April 1912


Title V was enacted by Congress in 1935 as part of the Social Security Act (SSA). Its roots, however, go back nearly a century--to the 1912 creation of the Children's Bureau. Title V is the only federal legislation dedicated to promoting and improving the health of our nation's mothers and children; its goals remain consistent with those of its predecessor: "To serve all children, to try to work out standards of care and protection which shall give to every child fair chance in the world."

The Title V legislation authorized the creation of the Maternal and Child Health programs, thereby providing the foundation and structure needed to meet the nation's goals for healthy mothers and children.

Since its inception, the Title V program has undergone many adjustments. The most significant changes occurred in 1981, when Title V was converted to a block grant program as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA '81). OBRA '81 consolidated Title V with five related programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children with disabilities (Sec. 1615[c] of the SSA); lead-based paint poisoning prevention programs (Sec. 316 of the Public Health Service [PHS] Act); genetic disease programs (Sec. 1101 of the PHS Act); sudden infant death syndrome programs (Sec. 1131 of the PHS Act); and adolescent pregnancy grants (P.L. 95-626). The 1981 legislation gave States more leeway in determining how to use federal funds, allowing them to self-direct money to identified maternal and child health needs. In 1989 amendments to OBRA provided stricter rules for application and reporting requirements for States applying for Title V block grants.

Over the years, the achievements of Title V-supported projects have been integrated into the ongoing care system for children and families. In the past 15 years, landmark projects were completed that

  • Produced guidelines for child health supervision from infancy through adolescence
  • Influenced the nature of nutrition care during pregnancy and lactation
  • Recommended standards for prenatal care
  • Identified successful strategies for the prevention of childhood injuries
  • Developed health and safety standards for out-of-home child care facilities

Major changes to Title V and developments in the program are outlined in the Title V timeline.

Timeline:  Title V Milestones



Children's Bureau created by Congress, placed in Department of Commerce and Labor



Title V legislation enacted as part of SSA and administered by Children's Bureau



Emergency Maternity and Infant Care Program enacted (P.L.78-156)



Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation (MR) Planning amendments (MR Programs, Maternal and Infant Care Projects, Research Program) enacted



SSA amendments (Children and Youth Projects, Training Program, Dental Projects) enacted



SSA amendments (Family Planning Services and Projects, Intensive Newborn Projects) enacted



Title V transferred to Public Health Service



SSI Program for Children enacted



OBRA '81 MCH Services Block Grant



Emergency Medical Services for Children Act enacted



Pediatric AIDS Projects developed in Title V set-aside



SSA amendments (accountability of State programs increased)



Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) established to administer Title V



Healthy Start enacted



SSA amendments (Abstinence Education Program) enacted



Title V Information System established by MCHB

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