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What are abandoned infants?

In 1988, Congress passed the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act to address an alarming national trend in several large metropolitan areas in which infants resided indefinitely on hospital wards after birth. The vast majority of these babies had been perinatally exposed to drugs or HIV/AIDS and had no viable alternative placement. The legislation defines “abandoned infants” as newborns who are not yet cleared for hospital discharge, but are unlikely to leave in the custody of their biological parents and “boarder babies” as infants who remain in the hospital past the date of medical discharge because they lack a safe place to live.  In contrast, the term “discarded infants” is used to refer to newborns who have been abandoned in public places, other than hospitals, without care or supervision.

What services are provided by the AIA projects?

The projects are diverse, operating out of hospital settings, community-based organizations, and child welfare agencies. While they each provide a set of services tailored to meet their specific populations and circumstances, in aggregate, they provide the following services: case management, parenting education and support, transportation assistance, basic resource assistance, mental health counseling, home visiting, infant developmental screening and intervention, primary health care, and drug treatment and recovery support. These services are intended to promote safety, permanency and well-being for children, and health and stability for their families.

Who do the direct service programs serve?

The AIA programs serve biological, kinship, foster, and adoptive families who care for children affected by substance abuse and/or HIV. These children have been abandoned in hospitals or are at-risk of abandonment. These families face an array of complex societal problems including poverty, homelessness, alcohol or other drug abuse, physically, sexually and emotional abusive relationships or histories, HIV infection, and mental illness. To view a description of each AIA program, click here.

How do I apply for this funding?

AIA service projects receive discretionary grant funding from the Children’s Bureau to prevent the abandonment and out-of-home placement of infants and young children from families affected by HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse, and to monitor their safety, permanency, and well-being. Two separate groups of AIA projects receive funding on staggered four year funding cycles. The most recent Request for Proposal (RFP) was released in late April 2012. The next RFP is anticipated in the spring of 2013. All discretionary grant funding opportunities from the Children’s Bureau are regularly posted on grants.gov.

If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact the Resource Center.