In 2009, the Affordable Care Act set aside $1.5 billion for programs that send nurses and other trained workers directly to the homes of parents facing social and economic challenges. The program is called Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting, or MIECHV.
A report released Wednesday by two organizations that support home visiting takes a deeper look at the results from that investment (which is now up to $1.9 billion, after an additional $400 million infusion last October). In addition to reaching vulnerable families who voluntarily agree to participate, the report’s authors said, states have used the federal funding to train home visitors, create centralized intake systems that connect families to a variety of services, and foster collaboration among multiple state agencies.
The report, a joint effort between the Center for Law and Social Policy and the Center for American Progress, both based in Washington, is an effort to bring attention to work that has not been broadly highlighted, the authors said.
And the timing is critical: as I wrote this month, funding for home visiting is set to expire at the end of March unless Congress renews the program. The Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal would devote $500 million to home visiting. (And you can read more about MIECHV, including some statistics on families served, in the budget justification for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) But the budget will not be approved fast enough to meet that end-of-March deadline, so advocates are looking to have home-visiting funding added to some other bill.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.