Until the 1980s, HEW, now the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was directly responsible for providing supervision and support to the SIDS projects. Following the federal government’s consolidation of funding for MCH categorical programs in the early 1980s, funds were given to each state in a “block grant” and each state was free to decide how it would allocate these funds. The 46 federally financed programs in the mid 1970s shrank to approximately 20 by 1988. In addition to the small number of continuing programs, the federal government’s support services were cut to include the part-time effort of one person available at the federal level, the SIDS Clearinghouse, and a few small grants for selected special needs. As time passed, it became increasingly apparent that without a central organizing and communication source, SIDS resources would become more fragmented and in many cases would cease entirely. Thus, in 1987 the Association of SIDS Program Professionals (ASPP) was organized to help fill this gap.
The ASPP represented individuals in the United States and Canada who provided service to nearly 4,000 families each year who experienced the death of a child due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. As family services expanded to offer broad based bereavement support and training, the name was changed to the Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs/ASIP in 1996 to reflect member activities. In addition to information and counseling, our members provide community education, peer support programs, training programs, and consultation services which link health departments, emergency responders, medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement, health and mental health professionals across the country.
ASIP works to build and maintain a high standard of bereavement services and promotes collaboration within the professional community. ASIP participates in legislative and government activities and infant mortality research initiatives. Other activities of ASIP are:
- Formulating professional and program standards and collaborating with other organizations to improve the quality of bereavement counseling and support services to those affected by infant and child death.
- Providing training for health care providers, emergency responders, and community groups to assure a supportive response following infant or child death.
- Monitoring legislation and government activities; advocating for federal initiatives regarding infant mortality prevention, SIDS risk reduction, and the development of comprehensive services.
- Supporting research activities for case management, epidemiology, and program evaluation.
- Providing consultation and technical assistance to organizations developing infant mortality initiatives at local, national, and international levels.
- Securing grants through its members (i.e., Nationwide Assessment of SIDS Services, and a model training program on infant death) to assure quality service provision at all levels.