Home visiting, parenting programs critical to building strong foundation for children

Sustaining and expanding funding for evidence-based parenting programs and supports through the Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) and other initiatives is critical to building strong foundations for children and their families, according to a new series of policy briefs developed by Zero to Three and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). In addition, use of innovative approaches, such as centralized intake to screen and refer families to the most appropriate services, are key to the development of coordinated systems of care in communities.

The recently released series, Building Strong Foundations: Advancing Comprehensive Policies for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, identifies 13 core policies required to support young children and their families on a path to healthy development. Such public policies address the comprehensive and interrelated needs of infants, toddlers, and families, ensuring access to mental and physical health care services; healthy food to eat; stable housing; good jobs with adequate benefits; and quality early care and learning programs.  The series includes a framework, overarching rationale, and 13 policy briefs that make the case for these essential core policies and identify action steps for federal and state policymakers to build and improve upon them.

The policy brief on Parent Support Services and Resources recommends parents of infants and toddlers have access to a full continuum of evidence-based parent support services that are appropriate to their needs. This includes information resources, evidence-based home visiting, parent education and peer support programs, and guidance in navigating other services available in the community. Development of the policy framework was supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.