Home Visiting Advocates Call for Day of Action September 19

The National Home Visiting Coalition is calling for a Day of Action on Tuesday, September 19 to urge federal lawmakers to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program before it expires at the end of the month.

The House Ways and Means Committee released a final version of its bill after failing to pass a series of amendments last week. The bill reauthorizes the program with level funding for five years. It retains a provision requiring dollar-for-dollar match by states by 2022, although it reduces match requirements for tribal MIECHV programs.

The Home Visiting Coalition is urging community advocates to reach out to their senators and members of congress and voice opposition to match requirements. The Coalition is also supporting increased funding for MIECHV.
The Day of Action will feature a Twitter Storm from 2- 3 p.m.  Here’s the group’s ACTION ALERT.

Save the Date! The First 1000 Days Florida Summit Planned for 2018!

Planning has started for the the 2018 First 1000 Days Florida Summit September 26-28, 2018 at the Palm Beach Convention Center.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend this statewide multi-disciplinary, cross-sector conference focusing on science, skill-building and advocacy for home visitors and other early childhood staff serving expectant and new families with children through age 3.

The inaugural First 1000 Days Florida Summit, held in 2015, drew more than 700 participants from programs in maternal and child health, prevention of abuse and neglect, early intervention, child care and school readiness.  Read more about the 2015 conference here.

Home Visiting Initiatives Partner to Support Fathers

Three state home visiting initiatives — Healthy Families Florida, Florida Healthy Start and FL MIECHV — are partnering over the coming year to improve support of fathers and their role in raising healthy, safe and successful children. Led by Healthy Families Florida, the new initiative will provide opportunities for assessment of agency practices and policies, staff training and strategy development for intentionally addressing fathers and their needs in program interventions.

Representatives from the three organizations, including frontline staff, met recently for a two-day planning session in Tallahassee.  The meeting was led by staff from The National Fatherhood Initiative which will provide technical assistance in the design and implementation of the initiative, as well as training and program materials.

The impact of fathers on a wide range of child outcomes— from social emotional development to health and school readiness —is well-documented. A recent study published in the Infant Mental Health Journal underscored the importance of father involvement in the early months of life and its positive effect on learning. For more information about the initiative, contact Katie Hood, FL MIECHV program manager.

Home Visiting Yearbook Provides Snapshot of Services, Families and Unmet Need

A new online yearbook compiled by the National Home Visiting Resource Center (NHVRC) offers a comprehensive portrait of early childhood home visiting across the country. The yearbook features a primer on home visiting, including its origins, evidence base, and funding sources; a detailed look at the home visiting landscape on the national and state levels, including data on where programs operate, the families they serve, and the families who could benefit but are not being reached; and an overview of the home visiting workforce.

According to Florida’s Profile:

  • Home visiting models implemented in the state include Child First, Early Head Start, Family Check-Up, Healthy Families America, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, and SafeCare. Statewide, 99 local agencies operated at least one of these models in 2015.
  • More than 4,600 families and 4,900 children were served in 2015, and received nearly 39,000 home visits. The report notes data is incomplete for several key programs, including Healthy Families and Nurse-Family Partnership.
  • The federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which supports the implementation of Healthy Families Florida, Nurse-Family Partnership and Parents as Teachers in 21 high-need communities, accounted for 1,500 of the families served and 15,500 of the home visits provided in the state during this period.
  • There are 966,400 families with children under age six who are not yet in kindergarten who could potentially benefit from home visiting – 28% of these families have incomes below the federal poverty level.

Information for the yearbook was collected from model developers, state MIECHV programs and other sources. The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Pre-Term Births Increase for Second Year in Florida, U.S.

Pre-term births —babies born before 37 weeks gestation— increased nationally and in Florida for the second consecutive year in 2016 according to preliminary data released recently by the National Center for Health Statistics. Florida’s pre-term birth rate was 10.15% in 2016, compared to 10% in 2015. Nationally, pre-term birth rates were 9.84% and 9.63% for the same periods.

Pre-term birth is the leading cause of infant mortality and can impact the health and development of babies when they survive. Pre-term birth to mothers enrolled during pregnancy is one of the new federal performance measures that will be reported annually for MIECHV-funded home visiting programs.

According to the NCHS report, all of the rise in the overall preterm rate can be attributed to the increase in late preterm births (34–36 completed weeks of gestation). The late preterm rate rose 3% for 2015–2016, from 6.87% to 7.09%. This rate had declined 9% from 2007 (7.51%) to 2014 (6.82%). In Florida, rates for late pre-term birth rose 4% between 2015 and 2016 (from 6.87% to 7.09%). The rise in late pre-term birth has been associated with increases in labor induction and c-section rates. Late pre-term births, which currently account for more than 70% of all pre-term births, are at increased risk of morbidity and NICU admission.

The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, Inc., which administers the state MIECHV program,  is partnering with the March of Dimes and Department of Health in Florida in implementing community-based initiatives to reduce prematurity using a variety of evidence-informed strategies.

The Latest News from FL MIECHV!

It’s about supporting child development, organizing community systems of care, finding ways to make fathers part of home visiting, and promoting oral health in mothers & their children. #Homevisitingworks. . .  Find out how FL MIECHV sites and partners are working to improve outcomes for Florida’s families – its all in the June newsletter. Check it out today!

Home Visiting Works: Gilma and Fatima

Gilma está leyendo con su hija Fátima de 16 meses para combinar palabras con los dibujos.  Gilma aprendió la importancia de ayudar en el desarrollo de su hija como una participando en Manatee Community Action Agency-MCAA con el programa Parents as Teachers.  Ella ha trabajado con la educadora de padres Altagracia M. Lajara-Paredes desde que inició en  el 2015.  En este video Gilma practicó todas las habilidades que aprendió en el programa.  Fátima aprendió los colores, formas geometrías, el alfabeto, y los números del 1-20 mientras fortalecía el apego con su madre.  La educadora de padres está muy orgullosa del el éxito de Gilma con su niña.

Gilma is reading with her 16 months old daughter Fatima matching words with pictures.  Gilma learned the importance of supporting her daughter’s development as a participant in the Manatee Community Action Agency’s- MCAA with Parents as Teachers program.  She has worked with parent educator Altagracia M. Lajara-Paredes since enrolling in 2015.  In this video, Gilma practiced all the skills she developed in the program.  Fatima learned the colors, shapes, the alphabet, and numbers 1-20 all while strengthening the attachment with her mother. The parent educator is so proud of Gilma’s success.

New Report Underscores Impact of Parenting, Importance of Home Visiting & MIECHV

A new report released this week by the Council for a Strong America, underscores the impact of parenting and the importance of voluntary home visiting in contributing to the success of families facing economic and social challenges. The Public Safety and Economic Benefits of Home Visiting offers strong support for the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, noting its high return on investment.

“Home visiting has unexpected benefits that extend well beyond the family. High-quality programs improve public safety by reducing child abuse and neglect and preventing involvement in crime. They also strengthen the economy by fostering families’ economic independence, helping children become productive adults, and saving up to five dollars for every dollar invested. When at-risk parents take advantage of the resources available in voluntary home visiting, entire communities benefit.”

The Council is a national, bipartisan group of five organizations comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes who promote solutions that ensure our next generation of Americans will be citizen-ready.

The new report highlights home visiting as a crime prevention strategy because of its success in preventing abuse and neglect. Citing a longitudinal study, the report notes children in families receiving services had significantly lower arrests and convictions by the time they reached age 19 than children raised in comparable families that did not receive services.

The role of home visiting in mitigating toxic stress and helping parents set and achieve education and employment goals offers a two-generation strategy for ensuring the health and well-being of children, according to the report. It concludes:

“Voluntary home visiting programs are based on a simple premise: parenting works. By coaching parents at a pivotal point in their lives, home visitors help at-risk parents provide children with a strong and stable upbringing and become self-sufficient. As a result, high-quality programs have benefits ranging from public savings and reductions in healthcare costs to less child abuse and neglect and crime reduction.

“Without reauthorization by Congress, MIECHV funding will expire on September 30, 2017—removing 145,500 at-risk parents and children from evidence-based home visiting programs.”

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

Supporting national efforts to call attention to the #1 complication of childbirth, Florida Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month.  The Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative offers these strategies for supporting awareness efforts:

  • Sign up for the awareness campaign of the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health.  Find it HERE.  Spread the awareness messages they will release throughout your community each day the week of 5/1-5/7.
  • Write to your area legislators about the importance of the mental health of Moms, Dads and babies.  Let them hear from their constituents!
  • Host a community screening and discussion of Dark Side of The Full Moon  from Florida’s own Maureen Fura and Jennifer Silliman.
  • Wear blue on WORLD MMH Awareness day, May 3rd in honor of the Blue Dot, the international symbol for maternal mental health awareness. Order BlueDotProject products at their site HERE.
  • View or screen a new documentary, When The Bough Breaks in your community.
  • Spread awareness of Postpartum Support International’s numerous resources from their website HERE.  Consider rallying support of offices, hospitals, organizations in your community by ordering English and Spanish awareness posters HERE.
  • Visit PSI’s bookstore HERE for a huge selection of must reads!
  • Visit World MMH Day website to learn more about the resources including posters in several languages!
  • Learn more about the Postpartum Society of Florida, visit their website HERE and consider adding to your community resource list!
  • Visit the SeventhMomProject.org, located in Tampa and doing amazing peer support and education.
  • Visit The Healing Hand Project by Jennifer Silliman to send another Mom hope.
  • Don’t forget LOSS: visit PSI’s list of resources for perinatal loss HERE.
  • Use social media hashtags: #FLMomsMatter and #ConnectTheDots throughout the month of May.