A federal-state partnership that supports home visiting programs in every state will expire March 31 unless Congress extends it, jeopardizing programs with a proven record of strengthening high-risk families and saving money over the long term.
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program funds programs through which trained professionals — often nurses, social workers, or specialists in early childhood development— help parents acquire the skills to promote their children’s development.
More specifically, MIECHV works to improve maternal and newborn health, prevent child injuries and abuse, help children succeed in school, reduce crime and domestic violence, and make families more economically self-sufficient. Research shows that it helps keep children out of the social welfare, mental health, and juvenile corrections systems, with considerable cost savings for states.
A new report and 22 state and tribal profiles from the Center for American Progress and Center for Law and Social Policy explain how states and tribes use MIECHV funds to improve and expand home visiting programs to serve more vulnerable families.
For example, MIECHV funds help these programs create or expand data collection systems that enable them to evaluate and report on outcomes for children and families. (Most MIECHV funds go to rigorously evaluated programs for which there’s well-documented evidence of success.) MIECHV funds also support training, technical assistance, and professional development for home visiting workers.
Many families have benefited from MIECHV-funded services. Continued federal support would help states build on that success by reaching more vulnerable families. Congress should reauthorize the program at current funding levels.