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HFA in front of the u.s. house ways & means committee

Marissa Morabito, Fritza Camille, and Joan Yengo in D.C.

On November 2, HFA was featured during a bi-partisan, informational briefing of the U.S. House Ways & Means committee. Below is a recap of the briefing and more information on the HFA participant and staff who helped show our elected officials the impact that home visiting can have. 

HFA in D.C.: A Congressional Briefing on Home Visiting and MIECHV

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Ranking Member Sandy Levin sponsored a bipartisan briefing on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program on Wednesday, and Healthy Families America was heavily featured in the proceedings!
One of the panelists at the briefing was Joan Yengo, Chief Program Officer from Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, Inc. in Washington, D.C. has been administering HFA for eighteen years. Her remarks centered on HFA and other evidence-based, home visiting programs being the core components of strategies that address the indicators that lead to poor prenatal, child, and family health. She discussed how programs build on parents' strengths and existing resources, to reduce stress in parenting, and enables parents to respond to their own needs so that they can better provide for the health and well-being of their child.

"We are all too familiar with the costs of babies born too early, not having adequate prenatal care, and the costs associated with preterm births. As we link the parents to quality prenatal care, we support families in access to a medical home for their newborn, and how to engage with their medical provider to reduce usage of the ER, not only saving money, but improving overall health with the child receiving appropriate well baby visits, immunizations, and other screening supporting their development."
-Joan Yengo, Mary's Center

In addition to Joan's remarks, one of the HFA participants at the Mary's Center prepared remarks for the briefing. In telling her story, Fritza Camille described how growing up in a household where being a good parent meant simply providing a place to live and food to eat. Fritza said she knew she wanted to provide a better life for her child, and that's why she got connected to the Mary's Center.

"I want to help my son and women like me to build the 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. This program does so much for the community, and I want to do my part by telling people how it helped me. I'm not the same person I was before, and that's amazing."
-Fritza Camille, HFA Mom

While members of Congress are not in session, this briefing was held for all House staff on both the minority and majority side to help them gain better understanding of home visiting. There were over 50 Hill staffers in attendance for the briefing and HFA was prominently featured. The other three panelists include Virginia Knox, Director at MDRC and Co-project Director for MIHOPE Evaluation and the MIHOPE Strong Start Evaluation; Loraine Lucinski, Deputy Director of Child Health; Division of Family Health and Wellness, Tennessee Department of Health; Allison Barlow, MPH, PhD, Director at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.

The Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over MIECHV in the House and are an important audience to educate ahead of reauthorization next year. We are grateful to Joan and Fritza for their help in spreading the message about home visiting!

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