Yesterday, a Congressional briefing on home visiting drew attention to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHVP), enacted under the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148). Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) hosted the event that was organized by The Pew Center on the States. Libby Doggett, Pew’s Home Visiting Campaign director, moderated the briefing that provided an overview of home visiting, from established and ongoing research to current state investments.
Researchers Meridith Matone of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab and Karen Guskin of Parents As Teachers talked about the importance of ongoing program evaluation to ensure that home visiting is effective in various contexts. Then, the second panel, comprised of leaders implementing home visiting in the states, talked about their experiences identifying communities in need and integrating home visiting into their states’ social service approach. Michele Ridge, Former First Lady of Pennsylvania, commended MIECHVP as a forward-thinking model in the way that it identifies effective practice and follows up state investment with accountability. Robert Frein, of Pennsylvania’s Departments of Education and Public Welfare and Sarita Rogers of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund both discussed current efforts to integrate and expand home visiting across their states. They also relayed stories of successful home visiting participants, providing a personal perspective for the case that these programs are working. The briefing ended with Diedre Henry-Spires of the Senate Finance Committee Staff calling for bipartisan support in moving forward to ensure that the federal home visiting program is preserved.