CHICAGO, IL – Yesterday the U.S. Congress stepped up in a big way to pass legislation that can make a real difference in the lives of children and families and help promote great childhoods for children. When the U.S. Senate passed a major piece of reform legislation known as the “doc fix,” they included language that would reauthorize funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) for two years at a level of $800 million. These funds programs like Healthy Families America that are proven to improve parent-child attachment and family self-sufficiency, and reduce incidences of child abuse and neglect.
Congress could have easily ignored MIECHV and chosen to spend the money elsewhere. Instead, they prioritized children and the future of our country to fund a program that helps create equal opportunities for all children and families to succeed.
While it may be coincidence that this happened in April which is Child Abuse Prevention month, it serves as a reminder of the importance of taking action today to make for a better tomorrow, and that all of us play a role in the healthy development of our nation’s children.
“I applaud members of Congress for their tremendous work in passing this bill and securing funding for children,” said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America. “They have set a true example for the rest of us to follow, not only during Child Abuse Prevention Month, but for the rest of the year as well.”
The legislators who voted yes played a major role in the passing of this legislation, but so did all of the people who called their federal elected officials. As these engaged advocates have shown, it can take only a few minutes out of the day to do something that has a real impact on all of our the futures.
While advocating for legislation that impacts families in communities across the nation is a tremendous accomplishment, there are small everyday actions that we can all engage that have an impact as well:
A coach who volunteers her time at an after-school program so that parents have a safe place for their kids to go to after school while the parents are still working is playing a role.
A man who offers to babysit for a single parent so that the parent can have a night to relax and de-stress is playing a role.
A group of neighborhood friends who organize a block party so that families in the neighborhood can get to know each other and reduce the risk of isolation are playing a role.
There are many different ways that each of us can make a difference in the lives of children and families. To learn more about other everyday actions you can take, visit Connect the Dots.
“At Healthy Families America, our goal is to help families reach their fullest potential for all children to have a great childhood, and MIECHV is a critical component to the spread and success of our program,” said Cyd Wessel, National Director of Healthy Families America. “Funding from this program will go towards thousands of families across the country who would not have access to these services without it, and we are grateful to members of Congress for their support the work of MIECHV.”
We are grateful to the U.S. Congress for being an example of this during a month that has been used to recognize prevention as a solution since 1983. Now it’s our turn, for each of us to ensure that Congress’ example does not go unnoticed. We all have a role to play to connect the good works that are going on throughout the country. What will your dot be?