Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) hosted a call announcing $224 million to help at-risk families voluntarily receive home visits from nurses and social workers to improve maternal and child health, child development, school readiness, economic self-sufficiency, and child abuse prevention. The grants awarded today consisted of both formula and competitive grants. The formula grants totaled $124 million and were awarded to 55 eligible entities (including 49 states and theDistrict of Columbia). The remaining $100 million in competitive funding went to 22 states that have sufficiently demonstrated the interest and capacity to expand and/or to enhance the development of their home visiting efforts.
HRSA is coordinating and providing technical assistance to all states that have been awarded grants fund home visiting programs in at-risk communities, while ACF will oversee the initiative for the tribes and tribal governments that have applied and been awarded home visiting grants.
Under the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, states must use at least three-quarters of the funding provided to implement one or more evidence-based programs. Currently eight models meet the HHS requirements for evidence-based home visiting programs. Additionally, the MIECHV program supports continued innovation by allowing up to 25 percent of funding to carry out and evaluate promising new approaches.
In announcing the new funds, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote, “Home visiting programs play a critical role in the nation’s efforts to help children get off to a strong start. Parenting is a tough job, and helping parents succeed pays big dividends in a child’s well-being and healthy development.” The MIECHV program is just one element of the Obama Administration’s commitment to invest in evidence-based approaches to improve outcomes for American’s most vulnerable children and families.