We must continue to work hard to extend the home visiting program before it expires on October 1. While that seems like a great deal of time, it isn’t, because the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, requires mandatory funding currently set at $400 million a year. There may be few opportunities to pass such a bill and some are working to see if an extension can be made part of other “must-pass” legislation such as the Medicare “doc-fix” formula that gets enacted each year. The Home Visiting program helped to set a new standard requiring states to spend 75 percent of its funding on evidenced-based and research-based models. The remaining 25 percent can be used for more experimental models but they too must undergo serious evaluation.
Contact your member of Congress to make sure the program continues.
Last week CBPP and CLASP released a new report, “Effective, Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs in Every State at Risk if Congress Does Not Extend Funding,” that highlights the effectiveness of the MIECHV program, the negative consequences of not extending the program and 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. For the program to continue, Congress needs to extend it. There are several examples of state-specific details and examples in the paper and the document is a useful tool when you contact your member of Congress to make sure MIECHV is extended.