NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing announced it is being awarded the current Newborn Hearing Screening Program (NHSP), with centralized services for families with infants who have been identified as deaf or hard of hearing, by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA-20-047). The NHSP is a state program that screens infants in hospitals for hearing loss and provide referrals to audiologists for further testing as needed. This $235,000 annual, 4-year grant, starting April 1st, 2020, will allocate funding for the establishment of a statewide LEAD-K Family Services that includes Parent Mentor support (Parentlinks) and Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)-related services, specifically Deaf Coach services. Under the new grant, the program will continue to collaborate with the California Departments of Education (CDE), State Schools for the Deaf; Healthcare Services Coordination Centers, Hearing Coordination Centers; Social Services, Deaf Access Program; and Developmental Services, Regional Programs.  Additional collaborators include the California Academy of Pediatrics, California Educators of the Deaf, Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID), and CCHAT.

According to NorCal’s announcement, the primary goal of this project is to increase the number of families with deaf or hard-of-hearing identified infants receiving early intervention and support services that ensure age-appropriate language development. A secondary goal is increasing the number of health professionals and service providers receiving training with the focus on understanding early language development and acquisition. 

“By ensuring families are connected to early intervention and support services, this new statewide program is aligned with California’s law that was passed in 2015 to address early language acquisition of children who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Sheri Farinha, CEO and Principal Investigator of the HRSA grant.

“The Newborn Hearing Screening Program illustrates the importance of early detection and intervention. By ensuring that infants are screened for hearing at birth, parents can make informed choices about their care early on,“ said US Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “I have long advocated for the federal government to prioritize these initiatives. Most recently, Congress successfully passed, and the President signed into law, my bill, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, legislation to preserve federal funding that continually supports this critical work. I’m pleased that NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing will be able to implement these funds locally to make sure newborn screening and intervention programs can continue to improve our kids’ health and well-being.”

“I applaud the award of this grant to NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing,” said Representative Ami Bera, MD. “This grant will support their Newborn Hearing Screening Program to address early language acquisition of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing has been a tremendous asset to the Sacramento County community, empowering deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals across California.”

Congressman John Garamendi on the grant: “I’m pleased that NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing has received this much-deserved support to bolster its services to the community. The organization will use these funds to educate, empower, and advocate throughout our region. I’m deeply thankful for the work the people of NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing perform every day, and I congratulate them for earning this award.”

NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing is a nonprofit community-based organization serving Deaf & Hard of Hearing individuals in 24 northeastern counties.  To learn more about NorCal please visit: or email: [email protected] or (916)349-7500.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the US Government. 

Source: NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing