In early June, the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). The program was enacted under the Affordable Care Act to fund efforts to pair new or existing parents with professionals.
The legislation, called the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act, calls for a five-year extension at the current annual allocation of $400 million. The Home Visiting Coalition, a group of 48 early childhood and home visiting advocates and service providers, applauds the decision to reauthorize the legislation which was set to expire in September. However, the Coalition has also launched a public campaign calling for an increase in funding.
The Coalition’s official campaign announcement reads: “[The coalition] is calling for a five-year reauthorization with incremental funding increases until MIECHV reaches the funding level of $800 million per year.” This increase in funding, which the Coalition has asked to be reached by the final year of authorization, is intended to meet a growing need for effective evidence-based home visiting.
Home visiting has been proven to increase school readiness, family self-sufficiency, and decrease child maltreatment and domestic violence. First Focus Vice President Karen Howard, co-convener of the Home Visiting Coalition, says, “Regular visits by caring, experienced professionals and trained peers can help parents turn their good intentions into good, solid parenting and coping skills.” While the five-year extension gives states and communities stability and security to continue effective home visiting services to improve health and well-being of the nation’s most vulnerable children and families, major improvements could be made if the additional funding is approved.
To learn more about the Home Visiting Coalition’s stance on the MIECHV legislation, visit here.