Rep. Walorski spent time visiting with families and staff from Family & Children’s Center who operate the Healthy Families St. Joseph program
(ST. JOSEPH, IN) - Congresswoman Jackie Walorski spent several hours on Wednesday, April 19 meeting with her constituents who participate in an evidence-based family support program in St. Joseph County.
While visiting Family & Children's Center in South Bend, IN, Congresswoman Walorski met with parents who have benefitted from the Healthy Families St. Joseph program as well as the dedicated staff who spend their days ensuring that children in Indiana have the chance to thrive.
“Evidence-based programs like Healthy Families are helping Hoosier parents thrive and giving children the chance to achieve their full potential,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how this program serves our community and to hear directly from families who have benefited from it.”
"For decades, the Family & Children's Center has been an advocate for creating a strong home environment and support system for every child in St. Joseph County,” said Logan Anderson, Board Chair of Family & Children's Center. “We appreciate having the opportunity to meet with the Congresswoman and know she will be advocating for us."
Family & Children's Center operates Healthy Families St. Joseph County, a voluntary home visiting program which uses the Healthy Families America model and is funded by the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, also known as MIECHV. MIECHV is currently up for reauthorization and has been taken up by the House Ways & Means Committee, on which Rep. Walorski began serving this year.
"We have incredibly passionate and mission-driven team at the Family & Children's Center, and I'm happy we were able to share some success stories from the families participating in our Healthy Families program,” said Roxanne Ultz, Executive Director of the Family & Children's Center. “Our mission is to build strong families and healthy children and with programs such as Healthy Families, we are able to make progress."
MIECHV funding has resulted in a proven track record of success in improving outcomes for children and families in Indiana. In 2016, for programs receiving MIECHV dollars, 60% of families who had less than 12 years of education went on the further education by at least one year, helping parents find better jobs to support their growing families. Additionally, Less than 1% of children enrolled at 12 months had a substantiated report of abuse and/or neglect five years later.
“Healthy Families America uses an infant mental health and relational development approach that benefits not only the families we serve, but also the communities those families live in,” said Cyd Wessel, National Director of Healthy Families America. “Our program sites at places like Family & Children's Center are making sure that all Hoosier families get what they need in order to raise the healthiest children possible.”
Nationally, MIECHV programs have shown a substantial improvement in key outcome areas for families, including improving school readiness in children, reducing child abuse and neglect, and improving family economic self-sufficiency. MIECHV is also supported by policymakers on both sides of the aisle, including Congresswoman Walorski.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program that has shown so much promise in improving people’s lives” said Congresswoman Walorski.