Chairman Kevin Brady, Jan 11, 2017: “We will advance evidence-based reforms to fund more programs that actually work, such as the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.”

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan and evidence-based program that supports at-risk families with babies & young children and is proven to help parents become more economically self-sufficient has been left out of the extenders package that many believed Congress would use to reauthorize it after expiring in September of 2017. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program has been widely praised by lawmakers – including leadership – on both sides of the aisle, as well as the experts and researchers who have studied the indisputable health, education, and economic benefits of voluntary home visiting services. Unfortunately, new mothers and their babies will soon be turned away from these life-changing – and often life-saving opportunities, as states and providers will begin to run out of money without MIECHV being reauthorized by Congress. In response to the news that MIECHV has been left out of the extenders package included in the House’s Continuing Resolution, First Five Years Fund interim executive director Sarah Rittling issued the following statement:

“Time and again we’ve heard from lawmakers that MIECHV is the gold standard for programs worthy of federal investment. Yet today, the House has again opted to pass up an opportunity to reauthorize this bipartisan, evidence-based program that expired in September. The Senate must now take action and ensure MIECHV reauthorization is included in its bill to fund the government. If it isn’t, babies and their families will be denied access to the quality home visiting experiences that are proven to help them lift themselves out of poverty. Congress cannot and should not continue to kick the can down the road and sidestep this vital program that shares widespread support and has been elevated as a priority up to this point.”

A cornerstone of evidence-based public policy, MIECHV provides funds to states and local grantees for developing and implementing voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs.

Voluntary home visiting programs pair at-risk 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.

Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize MIECHV has been introduced in both the House and Senate. A bipartisan majority in the House passed its MIECHV bill in September. 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.

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, including Republicans Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Kevin Brady, Rep. Adrien Smith, have specifically called out MIECHV as a top priority, and an example of a federal program worth supporting.

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.

The First Five Years Fund provides knowledge, data and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all. FFYF helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children.