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.
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.