Those earliest moments with our babies are some of the most magical, full of firsts—first breath, first smile, first step. Supporting new moms and birthing people and their babies during those magical moments is critical for strengthening our communities and promoting positive parent-child relationships. The federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is proven to do just that, and to improve short- and long-term outcomes for children and their families.
What’s happening? MIECHV is a federal, state, and community partnership designed to improve the health of at-risk children through home visiting programs. Funding for this program enables states, territories and tribal entities to develop and implement evidence-based, voluntary home visiting programs among their communities.
Every five years, the MIECHV funding program must be reauthorized (i.e., re-negotiated and committed to) by Congress. The MIECHV program was last reauthorized in 2018 at a funding level of $400 million a year and is set to expire at the end of this month. If this program is not reauthorized by September, funding is not guaranteed, which would leave 140,000 parents and children in 1,054 counties across the country without vital home visiting support.
When you click, you can sign on to our letter that reads:
This fall, Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding is set to expire, and I ask that Congress not only reauthorize this funding, but also increase investment in and expand the MIECHV program.
MIECHV funding supports home visiting services that are proven to strengthen communities and improve short- and long-term outcomes for children and their families. Home visitors work with parents to build strong relationships with their newborn and provide critical support during a child’s first five years of life.
Today, MIECHV-funded home visiting programs are helping 140,000 families in 1,054 counties across the country ensure their young children can reach their full potential – and many more families face barriers to accessing such essential services.
After nearly a decade of funding levels of the same amount, I ask that Congress reauthorize MIECHV for another five years and:
- Increase funding by $200 million annually, arriving at a total of $1.4 billion, to reach more families and better support the workforce
- Double the current amount of MIECHV funds set aside for tribal populations from 3% to 6% to reach more families in American Indian and Alaska Native communities
- Continue to allow virtual home visiting as an option, providing greater flexibility in where, how and when families can receive visits, and increasing access
- Provide disaggregated data (i.e., breakdown of data, often based on demographics) on benchmark outcomes to ensure equitable access to home visiting services across all communities
Starting at home and supporting families from pregnancy or birth into the preschool years is vital. When parents and caregivers are well supported, young children thrive. With a renewed commitment to continue and increase investments in MIECHV this fall, you can help ensure more young children in your communities thrive.
Home Visiting is a proven strategy to support parents and babies as they build a foundation for lifelong well-being and success. These programs support stronger parent-child bonds, healthier mothers and babies, lower rates of child abuse and neglect, more positive parenting practices, earlier development of language and literacy skills and improved school readiness, safer homes, and increased rates of parental employment. We should be doing everything we can to ensure babies have a solid foundation to learn and grow – and there is no better way to do that than by supporting families from the very beginning.