Widely Praised, Evidence-Based Program Must Be Reauthorized by End of September
WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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.