With time running short before the reauthorization runs out on October 1, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and CLASP released a new report, “Effective, Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs in Every State at Risk if Congress Does Not Extend Funding.” The paper highlights the effectiveness of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, examples of states’ use of MIECHV funds, and negative consequences of not extending the program.
The report outlines how MIECHV-funded programs are in place in every state and operating in 656 counties. Despite their documented success and broad, bipartisan support, they are now in jeopardy. MIECHV was originally authorized and funded for five years at a total of $1.5 billion, with $400 million for fiscal year 2014. The funding and authority expire at the end of FY 2014, and for the program to continue, Congress needs to extend it.
Following are examples from the paper of some state efforts.
- Iowa is expanding home visiting to underserved communities and building a statewide infrastructure to foster high-quality local implementation. The state is using MIECHV funds to expand three evidence-based home visiting models (Early Head Start-Home Visiting, Healthy Families America, and Nurse Family Partnership) to 15 at-risk communities. The state selected these models because they target groups at especially high risk for negative childhood outcomes. Iowa is also using some of its MIECHV funds to build a statewide data-driven early childhood system with a focus on quality and systems coordination. Key components of Iowa’s infrastructure include a statewide data collection system, a centralized intake system for home visiting and other family support programs, and a mandatory state certification for all home visiting and family support practitioners.
- Michigan is expanding evidence-based practices to underserved communities. Michigan is using MIECHV funds to expand home visiting services to 10 high-risk communities. The targeted populations include teen parents and African American and Latino populations in distinct geographic areas. The state is expanding four evidence-based models: Early Head Start- Home Visiting, Healthy Families America, Nurse Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers.
- New Mexico is expanding home visiting in tribal communities. Native American Professional Resources in New Mexico has used MIECHV funding to create the Tribal Home Visiting program, implementing the Parents as Teachers home visiting model in four New Mexico counties. In addition to providing regular home visits, the program sponsors monthly group meetings for parents and their children. The goal of the group sessions is to support the strengthening of tribal communities by bringing together Native parents to focus on their relationship with their children in a healthy and fun way. The program also works with parents and their children to develop a healthy Native identity and to support indigenous language use and cultural life ways. The home visitors work with resources in the community to incorporate traditional Native parenting practices into their home visits, including stressing the use of extended family members as support for parents and teachers.
- Oregon is coordinating early intervention services that previously operated in a non- coordinated fashion and expanding home visiting services to first-time mothers. Oregon is using MIECHV funds to expand two evidence-based practices that were already operating in the state (Early Head Start-Home Visiting and Healthy Families America) and is using its competitive grant funds to implement the Nurse Family Partnership for first-time mothers in five counties. In addition to expanding services, Oregon is using its MIECHV funds to expand its capacity to develop a collaborative, coordinated early-intervention system.
There are several additional details and examples in the paper and the document is a useful tool for advocates contacting their members of Congress to make sure the program is extended.