By Jen Curt, CTIPP's Director of Government Affairs
OCTOBER 3RD UPDATE: Thankfully, after months of advocacy, Congress passed legislation to extend the MIECHV program. Unfortunately, Congress only extended it to December 16, 2022, and did not include the additional funding CTIPP asked for. This short term extension gives us more time to organize and advocate.
Fortunately, Congressmembers in the U.S. House of Representatives just introduced the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act to increase funding and reauthorize the program. CTIPP endorsed this legislation, which is advancing through the Chamber right on time.
With the December cliff approaching, please urge Congress to extend and improve this critical program (and encourage others to do the same!).
The Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program has been shown to help parents break the cycles of trauma and poverty by providing support and teaching skills needed to achieve financial stability and to help raise healthy, happy, thriving children.
The program reduces maternal mortality and preterm birth, as well as child and family-serving system involvement and the need for Child Protective Services (CPS). Children whose families participate in these programs often enter school more ready to learn. The program saves taxpayer money in the first year of a child’s life, and those savings compound over time, making the program a strong investment.
MIECHV funding is due for reauthorization in 2022; without it, tens of thousands of families will lose access to these essential programs. We support the program’s reauthorization with three key updates/improvements to the program.
Specifically, in line with the National Home Visiting Coalition, we are requesting:
A fixed formula increases over the next five years. Currently, MIECHV funding only benefits three to five percent of eligible families and children. We recommend scaling up MIECHV over the next five years to increase the number of families served and ensure worker retention.
The set-aside for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities increased. This would support equity by ensuring communities most affected by poverty and intergenerational trauma have access.
Virtual service delivery option. Ensuring virtual home visiting implemented with model fidelity allows optional service delivery modality for families who choose it. As many as 51 percent of MIECHV-funded counties are rural, and in these communities, access is facilitated by performing some visits virtually. The virtual service delivery option improves equity by providing families with choice, convenience, and accessibility.