“I now feel like I have a family and a way to connect, just like the way parents connect and benefit from home visiting.” That was one of the most moving comments from a participant after two days full of discussions at the inaugural national meeting of the Association of State and Tribal Home Visiting Initiatives.
The 50 attendees are charged with administering evidence-based home visiting programs for states and Tribes. They shared their common accomplishments, challenges and solutions, and discussed ASTHVI’s agenda for 2015, organizational structure, and draft mission statement. Reflecting the involvement of Tribes in the organization, the members decided to change the name to acknowledge their inclusion. Therefore, it is now officially known as the Association of State and Tribal Home Visiting Initiatives (ASTHVI). The group also collectively submitted questions for HRSA’s upcoming Town Hall.
Speakers included Dr. David W. Willis, Director of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems with HRSA; Deputy Assistant Secretary Linda Smith with the Administration for Children and Families; and Deputy Assistant Secretary Libby Doggett with the U.S. Department of Education. Four senior staff from the United States Senate and House of Representatives provided an outlook for the extension of the MIECHV program.
Participants also had opportunities to meet with model developers, form committees, and discuss approaches for describing home visiting to skeptical audiences. It was made clear that ASTHVI is a dynamic organization of many voices and perspectives, including those who were unable to attend this initial meeting but still have much to contribute. More detailed summaries of discussions will be circulated to ASTHVI members shortly. Plans are underway to identify a time for ASTHVI members to gather at the Pew Home Visiting conference in May.