Federal legislation to support home visiting moves forward
Over the past several weeks, KidsFlash has been following potential progress made to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. MIECHV supports critical work to develop and implement voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs. In Fiscal Year 2020, the program reached almost 2,000 families across Colorado, with over 24,000 home visits conducted. Benefits seen in MIECHV-funded home visiting include improvements in maternal and infant health; reduction in crime and domestic violence; increased family economic self-sufficiency; increased school readiness and achievement; prevention of child injury, abuse, neglect, and maltreatment; and follow-up care through successful referrals.
While the program’s ability to positively impact maternal and child health outcomes is clear, years of stagnant funding limit its reach. Of the 18 million current and expectant parents who could benefit from MIECHV, only 150,000 currently do. The time for reauthorization of the program has come – and this is the critical opportunity to make additional investments into the program which could expand its ability to support families.
Last week, the reauthorization bill was officially introduced by U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee leaders. The Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022 reauthorizes MIECHV for five years, increasing the annual funding level to $800 million in 2027 and providing increased investment in home visiting in every state and territory. It also updates program policies to provide an even stronger focus on improving outcomes for families, and it provides clarity and stability for successful state and territorial programs. The Committee on Ways and Means unanimously voted to advance the legislation 41-0 on Sept. 21.
Now that the reauthorization bill is officially moving through the legislature, it is the perfect time to contact your U.S. Representatives and urge their support of this legislation. The Colorado Children’s Campaign is proud to have joined over 700 national, state, and local organizations in urging Congress to provide a robust and timely bipartisan reauthorization of MIECHV. We have already submitted our own public letter in support of this specific bill. To learn more about this effort, visit the National Home Visiting Coalition website.