The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program provides federal funds to states for voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services. Voluntary home visiting programs, like those made possible by MIECHV, 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 in their homes 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. Visits by caring, experienced professionals can turn good intentions into good parenting, breaking generations-long cycles of poverty, addiction, abuse, and despair, making MIECHV a critical piece to providing a continuum of care for children from birth to age five. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, home visiting programs funded by MIECHV served over 156,000 parents and children and provided more than 942,000 home visits nationwide.
As the needs of families in communities across the country can greatly vary, MIECHV is designed to give states flexibility in identifying local needs to maximize effectiveness in improving outcomes. For families experiencing poverty, language barriers, or geographic isolation, tailored home visiting services can be a valuable resource for supporting parents to be the best advocate for their child’s learning and development in the early years. Ultimately, investing in children from birth through family support programs saves money for taxpayers as a result of increased family self-sufficiency.
Further, federal investment in home visiting through MIECHV has kick started a boost in state investment. Since 2008, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that at least 22 states have passed home visiting legislation.
Latest Update: In 2018, Congress reauthorized MIECHV for five years (through FY 2022) at a funding level of $400 million a year. By improving and supporting newborn and maternal health, home visiting significantly impacts academic performance, reduces crime and domestic violence, encourages self-sufficiency within families, and builds the foundation for a better prepared workforce and a stronger economy.