We Need Your Voice! The Time is NOW for Children and Families

In less than 100 days, the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program will expire. This critical piece of legislation provides funds for voluntary evidence-based family support programs, like Healthy Families America. MIECHV programs serve many of the most vulnerable families, including families with children living in poverty: in 2015, 77% of MIECHV families were at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines and 46% of MIECHV families had incomes that were 50% or lower than those guidelines.

But home visiting programs funded through MIECHV can help. These nationwide programs strengthen communities and neighborhoods by giving children and parents the support they need while laying the foundation for better health, education, and economic self-sufficiency for the entire family.

We know MIECHV works. In 2015, across the country:

  • 85% of MIECHV programs demonstrated improvements in school readiness and achievement,
  • 83% of MIECHV programs demonstrated overall improvement in benchmark areas,
  • 81% of MIECHV programs demonstrated improvements in maternal and newborn health,
  • 85% of MIECHV programs demonstrated improvements in family economic self-sufficiency, and
  • Screenings for developmental delays in young children are twice the national average in 18 states with MIECHV programs.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story. Take it from T.D., a Healthy Families mom from Virginia who says:

“As a fifteen-year-old mother whose father had just died and whose mother was hospitalized at the same time, I relied a lot on Healthy Families to get to appointments, find resources, understand my child’s development and so much more. With the aid of my support worker, I became much more aware of how to help my child get stronger at doing things.

Thanks in part to the Healthy Families program, I was able to get through the toughest time in my life and provide a better future for my daughter – one full of strength and success. After 5 years, we graduated from the Healthy Families program; I graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and went on to earn a Bachelors and Masters degree.”

Or Fritza, a mom from Maryland who writes:

“I knew I wanted to give my son a better life than I had, and that meant taking care of myself. In my culture, people look down at people who go to a therapist. I had to break down that barrier within myself, and Healthy Families helped me get there. My home visitor, Kate, got me connected with a therapist named Claudia. Kate made sure I was taken care of before I asked that I needed help. Kate also helped me feel prepared to be a mother. It was wonderful knowing what to expect. Kate taught me the proper way to breastfeed. She got me a two-page brochure on how to breastfeed and how helpful it can be to the mother and the child.

I love that they don’t judge me. They talk to me like an equal, even though we come from different backgrounds. I want help my son and women like me to build this confidence that I got through this program. There are so many women in my age group who come from a background like mine or even worse, and they need to know there’s help out there. With their help, I learned how to give myself hope and feel confident in being a mother. I’m not the same person I was before, and that’s amazing.”

Thanks to MIECHV, these families have a brighter future today than they had before. Yet despite the success of MIECHV, this program is at risk and we need your voice.

MIECHV Needs Your Help!

Follow this link to find contact information for your Representatives and Senators and let them know that MIECHV matters to you! Use the sample message below to let your elected officials know that this critical program cannot be allowed to expire.

Dear

I am writing to you today to tell you that I support the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. This program is a cornerstone of evidence-based policy which funds voluntary home visiting programs, like Healthy Families America, and is set to expire on September 30, 2017.

This program has been critical in helping improve family economic self-sufficiency as well as parent and child educational achievement, helping improve our tax base and create more self-sufficient families. MIECHV programs have also helped improve infant and maternal health outcomes, lowering costs associated with long hospital stays and emergency room visits. But MIECHV programs have done more than decrease costs. They have helped set up the next generation of American leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs for success.

MIECHV programs have been proven to improve early childhood health and development, school readiness, birth outcomes, and economic self-sufficiency while reducing child abuse, neglect, and injuries, while detecting delays early. I urge you to learn more about how MIECHV is helping children and families in our state and to work to ensure this important program is re-authorized.

Thank you in advance for your support of children, families and communities in our state and for your commitment to the future of all families nationwide.

Celebrating Fathers like Scot on Father's Day 2017

Father’s Day is a simple reminder to celebrate all of the different kinds of Dads in families across the country. Here’s to the dad who makes time to coach his daughter’s softball team. Here’s to the single Dad who juggles the responsibilities of parenting with the demands of his job. Here’s to the stay-at-home dad who manages the house so his wife can run her business or go to school. Here’s to the Grandfather who is "un-retiring" to take his grandchildren into his home.

On this Father’s Day, we want to highlight one father in particular: Scot. Scot first told his story to staff and members of Congress at a briefing sponsored by the National Prevention Science Coalition. Thanks to them, and Scot, we are able to tell it here.

Scot is a dad in Ohio where he and his wife Brenda participate in a Healthy Families America program. Their story began when their son Anthony was born two months premature. The birth was so sudden that it was Scot himself who delivered him; after Brenda went into labor and while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Scot welcomed his son into the world in the bedroom of their family home.

After the birth, Scot and and his family spent a lot of time in the hospital. While Anthony was staying in the NICU, the nurses told Scot and Brenda that their child would be developmentally behind. Wanting to do more for their son to prevent these delays, the new parents signed up for Healthy Families America while still in the hospital.

Now their family has welcomed Betsy, a home visitor, into their lives.

The more Anthony grew, so did the demands on Scot and Brenda’s time. Scot wanted to do the best he could for his son and to learn more about the ways to keep Anthony developmentally on track. He wanted to find lessons and information. Fortunately, he had help.

Scot is a dad who went the extra mile for his child. He knew in order to to make the best use of his time and keep Anthony developmentally on track, he would have things to learn. Scot and Brenda took what they learned from Besty and maximized it.

For Scot, his parenting style was creative and fun. He invented things like "the Man Cave" where he and Anthony would sit, listen to jazz and dance. Ideas like this helped build Anthony's fine and gross motor skills and gave Scot more time to bond with his son.

This Father's Day, we’re celebrating Scot and all of the other dads out there who go the extra mile for their children. For Scot and Brenda, home visiting programs helped them go that extra mile.

If you want to help other fathers like Scot and ensure they have access to these critical programs, visit homevisitingcoalition.com.

To hear Scot's story in its entirety, watch his full testimony on our YouTube channel.