The Home Visiting Coalition, in collaboration with the offices of Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Menendez (D-NJ), held a bipartisan Senate briefing on Tuesday on the importance of reauthorizing and increasing funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV).

Research demonstrates that evidence-based home visiting improves prenatal care and birth outcomes, early child health and development, school readiness, and parenting practices; while reducing incidents of child maltreatment and assisting families establish self-sufficiency.

Panelists at the briefing included Janet Horras, Family Support Coordinator at the Iowa State Department of Management; Kathy Stack, Vice President of Evidence-Based Innovation at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Dr. Cynthia Minkovitz, Sr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Zakiyyah Jacobsen, a HIPPY USA parent from New Jersey.

During the briefing the panelists highlighted the importance of MIECHV from their own experience and perspective. Universally, the panel spoke to the evidence based outcomes design of the program and the need for increased federal funding. Specifically:

  • Janet Horras, provided insight into MIECHV’s flexible structure which allows state governments to tailor the program to meet the needs of individual families, particularly those in rural communities.
  • Kathy Stack, spoke about the impact and efficacy of MIECHV by stating, “This program is the poster child for a lot of evidence-based efforts that followed. We’ve created a framework for all these models to play together.”
  • Cynthia Minkovitz focused on how MIECHV translated evidence to practice, and how home visiting is a part of a larger early childhood system.
  • Zkiyyah Jacobsen, a mother from New Jersey, shared her first-hand experience with home visiting and the HIPPY USA model. She passionately conveyed how the program connects parents with resources to develop effective parenting skills in order to raise healthy children who are ready to learn.

The Home Visiting Coalition is calling for MIECHV to be reauthorized before it is set to expire at the end of September 2017. The Coalition is a diverse group of organization committed to the well-being of children, working to promote continued federal support of home visiting to strengthen families in communities across the country.

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