ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (April 20, 2021) – At its monthly Board Meeting today, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) Board of Directors approved a 3-year grant of $1,305,536 to establish ‘Safe Beginnings,’ a first of its kind pre and post-natal and maternal healthcare program in Atlantic City.
The purpose of Safe Beginnings initiative is to address the root causes for maternal and infant mortality through a targeted approach for Atlantic City mothers and infants. Safe Beginnings will offer three main services. First is a home visitation program, which will provide in home maternal and prenatal services for expecting mothers. Second, is a Transitions of Care Clinic, which will provide services for at-risk babies post discharge from the NICU. Finally, a Baby Safety Store, which will provide safety items as well as educational materials for moms to take care of their babies after pregnancy.
“Mothers and babies in Atlantic City have long suffered the consequences of poor access to quality prenatal and neonatal care. The pandemic has exacerbated the problem and shown us how these health disparities can affect entire communities,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “We all have a role to play in the health and wellbeing of our residents and this partnership between CRDA, the State and AtlantiCare is a step in the right direction for breaking down health disparities in our communities of color. This groundbreaking public and private partnership can serve as a model for other parts of the State.”
“Atlantic City has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in New Jersey,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Our recently released Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan highlights the critical importance of bringing resources directly to our families, and the Safe Beginnings program will do just that by bringing home visiting, doula care and more to the most vulnerable mothers and babies served by AtlantiCare. I am thrilled to continue to partner with this innovative collaboration between the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and AtlantiCare to ensure that Atlantic City’s mothers and babies have the opportunity to thrive.”
“For too long, Atlantic City has grappled with high maternal and infant mortality rates. Currently, there are no birthing centers in Atlantic City and those mothers with complications in the past had to go off island for services. This initiative will provide both pre-natal and postpartum services for at risks infants at the homes of Atlantic City mothers. This is a first of its kind approach and we are proud to partner with the leadership of AtlantiCare to ensure Atlantic City mothers and babies receive these much needed services,” said CRDA Board Chairman Robert Mulcahy.
This initiative is complimentary to, and an expansion of services which will be offered at the AtlantiCare Medical Arts Pavilion project due to open in the fall of 2022. This facility will include a perinatal / neonatal clinic, which will be created for high-risk infants throughout Atlantic County within the new facility. All services under Safe Beginnings are scheduled to commence in July 2021 and would create a wraparound approach to address the variables that have contributed to Atlantic City’s standing as the leader in infant mortality rates in the state. In January, the First Lady unveiled the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Plan – a strategy to reduce New Jersey’s high rates of maternal and infant mortality and eliminate the racial disparities responsible for these deaths. The strategic plan is the latest element of the First Lady’s Nurture NJ initiative, which aims to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. This initiative developed by AtlantiCare follows the recommendations outline in the strategic plan and will partner and coordinate with the Office of the First Lady and all relevant state departments and agencies.
“Safe Beginnings is a coordinated response which includes a partnership with the First Lady of New Jersey, Tammy Murphy, which offers three distinct elements specifically selected to reverse community trends that exist in Atlantic City,” said CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty. “It will provide a combination of clinical and social supports, establish Community Doula services and the expansion of existing services at AtlantiCare.”
In other business today, the CRDA Board granted preliminary and final major site plan approval with variances for construction and improvements for Showboat Renaissance, LLC. The plan includes the construction of an approximately 60,000 square foot multipurpose entertainment pavilion; an approximately 57,000 square foot outdoor food, beverages and entertainment venue; and an approximately 10,000 square foot expansion of the boardwalk for dining, entertainment and recreation. A public hearing for this project was held on March 4, 2021.
About the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority
The only agency of its kind nationwide, the CRDA has used Atlantic City casino reinvestments as a catalyst for meaningful, positive improvement in the lives of New Jersey residents since 1984. Under the 2011 Tourism District Act, the Authority’s mission evolved from statewide projects to becoming the state’s key economic development agency for Atlantic City. CRDA’s expanded responsibilities now include land use regulation, tourism marketing and clean and safe initiatives. The CRDA also oversees Historic Boardwalk Hall (the leading entertainment venue of its size in the country) and the Atlantic City Convention Center. In total, CRDA has invested nearly $2 billion in more than 400 projects statewide, of which $1.8 billion has been invested in Atlantic City, spurring business investments and expansions, and creating permanent jobs in the process. For more information about CRDA and our projects, visit www.njcrda.com, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.