Pence signs bill for new grant program to help reduce Indiana's infant mortality rate

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INDIANAPOLIS — A new state grant program aimed at trying to reduce Indiana's infant mortality rate is set to start this summer.

Gov. Mike Pence on Monday signed a bill creating the program known as Safety PIN, for Protecting Indiana's Newborns.

Health officials say the program will fund grants to support local programs where women can receive prenatal care, learn about safe sleep practices for children, encourage breastfeeding and help expectant mothers to quit using drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

The new state budget includes $11 million for the program over the next two years, along with $2.5 million for development of a website to reach at-risk mothers.

Plans for the program come as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Indiana had the country's fifth-highest infant mortality rate in 2010.

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