America’s overwhelmingly bipartisan and evidence-based home visiting program expired in September, and now new moms will soon be turned away from the voluntary programs that are proven to help lift families out of poverty.
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program puts families first to strengthen communities and improve health, education and economic outcomes for kids and their parents. A cornerstone of evidence-based public policy, MIECHV provides funds for developing and implementing voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs.
Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize MIECHV has been introduced in both the House and Senate. However, the politics and partisanship that surround much of Congress’ legislative agenda have kept lawmakers from addressing the urgent need to renew this vital and popular program.
Because MIECHV has not been reauthorized, programs and providers nationwide have begun informing families that funds will soon run out. If Congress does not act, new moms who seek out these opportunities to strengthen their families will be turned away.
All parents want what’s best for their new babies. And while good intentions and parental love are important, they can be warped by inexperience, isolation, poverty, abuse, drugs and more.
That’s where home visiting comes in.
Home visiting programs pair families looking for additional support and mentoring with trained home visitors such as nurses, social workers, and educators. Home visitors meet with families at home and work with parents, 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 those good intentions into good parenting, breaking generations-long cycles of poverty, addiction, abuse and despair.
Time is running out. We are hopeful that Congress acts quickly before new moms and their babies miss out on the life-changing – and often life-saving – opportunities home visiting provides.