National Supporters of Voluntary Home Visiting Kick Off Campaign as Time Nears for Congress to Reauthorize MIECHV
Widely Praised, Evidence-Based Program Must Be Reauthorized by End of September
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 14, 2017—Parents like Elizabeth Eddings, a mother of three originally from Alabama, are anxiously awaiting news that Congress has voted to once again support the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.
Eddings voluntarily enrolled in a home visiting program; through those regular visits with a trained parent educator, she was able to escape a difficult relationship, secure health interventions for her child, and is on the path to economic self-sufficiency.
“Thanks to my home visitor, who I understand is supported through the MIECHV program, my son has the help he needs,” says Eddings. “That’s why I’m in a position today to share with you why this program is so valuable to families and communities.”
Eddings, along with thousands of other moms and dads across the country, is encouraged to know advocates and supporters today launched a campaign for renewal of the program as it faces an end of September deadline for congressional action.
U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady of Texas would likely agree with Eddings’ assessment. The program “empowers parents to achieve better outcomes for themselves and their children,” Brady has written.
Tomorrow— March 15—the Ways and Means Committee’s Human Resources Subcommittee will hold a hearing on reauthorizing the legislation, where members will hear testimony from a teenage Pennsylvania mother about how MIECHV helped her learn how to be a positive parent while continuing to persue her own education. The hearing will be streamed at https://waysandmeans.house.gov/live/.
The campaign and its website, which also launched today, is the work of the Home Visiting Coalition, a national group of home visiting models and advocates for children and families. Its main focus is to ensure that this successful, evidence-based program is not just continued but also expanded so that even more at-risk families in all 50 states can benefit from home visiting.
“Without reauthorization, the critical services provided by MIECHV-supported home visiting programs will be eliminated for families trying to climb the economic ladder. Home visiting can make all the difference in the lives of individual families and by extension, entire communities, breaking generations-long cycles of poverty, addiction, abuse and despair,” said Diedra Henry-Spires, CEO of the Dalton Daley Group and co-convener of the Home Visiting Coalition.
“Regular visits by caring, experienced professionals and trained peers can help parents turn their good intentions into good, solid parenting and coping skills,” said Karen Howard, vice president of early childhood policy at First Focus and co-convener of the Home Visiting Coalition. “We are excited to use this crucial moment to show how home visiting in general and MIECHV in particular are proven investments in the future of our children and families.”
The evidence data includes the following:
- Since MIECHV began in 2010, 85 percent of states have demonstrated improvement in parental participation in the workforce.
- 81 percent of states with MIECHV-supported programs have demonstrated improvement in maternal and newborn health from pregnancy until kindergarten.
- MIECHV programs have provided developmental delay screenings at frequency rates twice the national average, ensuring children are ready to thrive in school.
The 48-member coalition is calling for a five-year reauthorization with incremental funding increases until MIECHV reaches the funding level of $800 million per year. For more information about the Home Visiting Coalition, about MIECHV and about how to get involved in the reauthorization efforts, visit our web site at homevisitingcoalition.com.
CHAIRMAN ADRIAN SMITH VISITS LOCAL FAMILY SUPPORT PROGRAM IN NEBRASKA TO LEARN ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF FEDERAL HOME VISITING
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) spent time learning about evidence-based practices that reduce child maltreatment and increase economic self-sufficiency in families.
(Scottsbluff, NE) - A top GOP lawmaker visited a program in his district on Monday, March 6, to learn more about the importance of federally funded home-visiting programs that are currently set to expire in September 2017.
Rep. Adrian Smith of Gering, NE, spent the morning at Panhandle Public Health District Healthy Families America, visiting with families benefitting from the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Rep. Smith is Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources.
“We are grateful that Rep. Smith took the time to learn about home visiting in Nebraska and just how important this federal program is at the local level,” said Melissa Galles, HFA Program Manager/Supervisor. “MIECHV has had a significant impact on the economic success and school readiness of vulnerable children and families in Nebraska and we are counting on this important program to help families in our state thrive.”
At PPHD Healthy Families America, Rep. Smith met with parents like Paul and Mary, whose daughter was diagnosed with autism. Paul and Mary spoke about how MIECHV-funded programs like Healthy Families America provided much needed support to their family as they navigated the challenges of raising a child with autism.
Dawn, another participant in the Healthy Families America program, spoke about her struggles with homelessness while raising her children. With the help of PPHD, Dawn was able to connect with other community services that helped her find a home and stability in order to provide for her growing family. “I’m so thankful for this program,” she said.
“Evidence-based home visiting programs, like those funded through MIECHV, have been shown to be effective in improving outcomes for families,” Rep. Smith said. “My top priority in Congress continues to be ensuring greater opportunity for Americans, and I was grateful to learn more about how the home visiting program empowers Nebraska parents to provide a better life for their children. As our next hearing in the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee will focus on MIECHV, I look forward to sharing my observations from this visit with my colleagues.”
MIECHV provides evidence-based family support services to families of children at-risk for adverse childhood experiences, including child abuse and neglect. According to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), more than 85 percent of MIECHV participants are living below the poverty line. MIECHV builds upon decades of scientific research to support rigorously-evaluated programs with well-documented evidence of success.
Programs funded by MIECHV, such as Healthy Families America, have shown a positive impact on families’ chances for success, increasing parental education, job prospects, and community resources. Studies of Healthy Families America has shown that families who participate in the program are primed for future success. Research also indicates that children in the program are less likely to repeat first grade and more likely to be placed in gifted and talented programs than children in control groups.
“MIECHV is a successful bipartisan, federal-state partnership and a cost-effective policy that improves outcomes for low-income children and families,” said Dan Duffy, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “These evidence-based, voluntary home visiting services are proven to result in success for vulnerable children and families, and we are glad that Rep. Smith was here today and saw the positive impacts of MIECHV first-hand.”
As a partnership between federal and state governments, states like Nebraska use funds to implement programs that show positive results in multiple areas, including promoting school readiness of young children, increasing economic self-sufficiency of families, improving prenatal health and birth outcomes, and preventing child abuse and neglect. According to experts, Scotts Bluff County rated highest need out of all 17 counties identified on the statewide needs assessment.
“The importance of MIECHV cannot be overstated,” said Duffy. “Results in Nebraska and other states prove that this program is having a very real and very powerful effect on at-risk families. We owe it to ourselves and our country to continue funding MIECHV and helping to build the next generation of American leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.”
To learn more about MIECHV and the successes enjoyed by states and communities across the country, please visit homevisitingcoalition.com.
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