The grant covers a 4-year period from April 2020-March 2024 and has the following goals to support families and children in Maine:

  1. Increase the number of newborn hearing screenings completed prior to 1 month of age.
  2. Increase the number of diagnostic audiological evaluations that occur prior to 3 months of age, for those infants who refer on the newborn hearing screening.
  3. Increase the number of children who are deaf or hard of hearing enrolled in early intervention services by 6 months of age.
  4. Increase the number of families who enroll in family-to-family support services.
  5. Increase the number of families who enroll in D/HH adult-to-family support services.
  6. Increase training to health professionals and service providers about the key aspects of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program.

Earliest Interactions works in collaboration with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to meet these goals.

This section is interactive; tap on terms to learn more!

What is EHDI?

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) is a federal program that supports states in ensuring that every newborn is screened for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge. EHDI programs also ensure that infants not passing the hearing screening receive diagnostic evaluation before three months of age and, when necessary, are enrolled in early intervention programs by six months of age. In Maine, this work is done collaboratively between the Maine Newborn Hearing Program, with CDC funding, and Earliest Interactions, with HRSA grant funding through MECDHH. Read further to find out more about Maine’s EHDI system.

The EHDI System

The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an office of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Their mission is to provide the leadership, expertise, information, and tools to ensure conditions in which all Maine people can be healthy. Maine's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (Maine Newborn Hearing Program) is part of Maternal and Child Health within the Maine CDC Children with Special Health Needs Program.

MNHP Website

At a Glance

These four organizations work together to provide information, resources, and support through the newborn hearing screening process to help families and their children achieve the 1-3-6 EHDI goals.

The EHDI System An illustration showing the various organizations that make up Maine's ehdi System. Community of Support Serving Families with Children 1-3-6 and Beyond EI EHDI EIFS MNHP CDS MECDHH HRSA CDC

Our Team

Meet some of the people who are working to ensure that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and the professionals who work with them have up-to-date information, resources and support to get their children the services they need to reach their highest potential.

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Holly Richards
Anne Banger
Karen Hopkins
Darlene Freeman
Karen Hopkins
Amy Spencer
Jamie Michaud
Katherine Duncan
Amber Woodcock
Katherine Duncan

Family-Based Organization

25% of our HRSA grant funding is allocated to support family engagement and family support activities. Maine Hands & Voices was fortunate to be chosen as Maine’s Family-Based Organization for this grant cycle. Because our chapter has an established Guide By Your Side Program with both Parent Guides and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Guides, we feel we are in the best position to offer this support for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our chapter and GBYS Program offer many opportunities throughout the year for families to attend events (virtually during COVID), participate in Zoom webinars, and for their children to be able to take advantage of fun activities planned on a regular basis. Since our program is imbedded into the Part C (CDS) process, families have opportunities to meet our Parent Guides and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Guides at any time through this process for support.

A parent and their child smiling
A parent and their child standing behind a photo stand-in of a truck full of pumpkins

Who is Maine Hands & Voices?

In their own words: “Maine Hands & Voices is a nonprofit, parent-led organization that provides unbiased support to families with children who are Deaf or hard of hearing. We are here to answer your questions, give parent-to-parent support from someone who has been on a similar journey, and offer opportunities to meet other families with children who are Deaf or hard of hearing.”