This month, a bipartisan group of Senators from the Senate Finance Committee signed a letter in support of a “robust, timely, five-year reauthorization” of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. MIECHV provides federal funds to states, territories, and tribal entities for voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services.
These programs pair families who often have limited support and resources with trained home visitors such as nurses, social workers, and educators. Home visitors meet with parents one on one from pregnancy through their child’s kindergarten entry to help lay the foundation for the health, education, development, and economic self-sufficiency of the entire family. MIECHV is set to expire on September 30th.
In the letter, addressed to Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senators emphasized MIECHV’s broad bipartisan, bicameral support as a “sound investment of federal funds” as the program is viewed as a “gold standard for evidence-based policymaking.” The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker & Family Support also demonstrated its bipartisan support of the program this year in a March 2022 hearing where Subcommittee members enthusiastically praised the program and touted its success in improving outcomes for families and children across the country.
Despite this, the program has not been able to reach enough families, as only three percent of eligible families were served through MIECHV pre-pandemic. To ensure the program can reach as many families as possible, First Five Years Fund (FFYF), along with the National Home Visiting Coalition (HVC), is asking Congress to promptly reauthorize the program in order to prevent any lapse in service for families across the country who receive MIECHV-funded services. HVC’s 3 primary reauthorization asks are: scale up MIECHV funding over the next 5 years with increases of $200 million annually arriving at a total of $1.4 billion; double the Tribal set-aside from 3% to 6%; and continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an allowable service delivery option for families.
To learn more about the MIECHV program and the National Home Visiting Coalition’s reauthorization asks, view FFYF’s MIECHV FAQ here.