Advocacy Groups Fighting to Maintain Funding for Home Visiting Programs
The $400 million allotted to the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program will end in March, unless Congress acts during the lame-duck session or in the early days of the new congress, says a group of more than 750 groups hoping to preserve the funding.
The program known as MIECHV was established in 2010 with an initial $1.5 billion budget and in March 2014, funding was extended for an additional year. It is administered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and supports state and local programs to address issues such as school readiness, maternal health, and positive parenting. As the name suggests, these services are provided in a family's home, with the idea that the early support will pay dividends later. The Nurse-Family Partnership, based in Denver and operating in 35 states, and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), which operates out of Little Rock, Ark. and serves children and families in 21 states and the District of Columbia, are two example of programs funded through MIECHV.
The coalition sent a letter Dec. 4 to Senate and House leaders, urging them to act quickly. "We can't keep making the same mistake over and over again—ignoring the problems children face until they get too big or too bad to manage," said a statement from Bruce Lesley, the president of the First Focus Campaign for Children in Washington, and a member of the coalition of national and local groups that signed the letter.