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.

Find Out What’s Happening on MIECHV Reauthorization Along With State and Local Home Visiting Updates – FL MIECHV October Newsletter


Learn about plans by national home visiting advocates to urge immediate action to reauthorize the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program which expired at the end of September. Find out how the Florida ECCS Impact project and FL MIECHV’s Coordinated Intake & Referral pilot are demonstrating the power of collective impact in developing systems of care in local communities.  See how Florida’s home visiting programs are promoting safe sleep and much more — it is all in the October 2017 FL MIECHV Newsletter!

National Home Visiting Coalition Urges Advocacy on MIECHV Reauthorization

The National Home Visiting Coalition today urged advocates to take action in support of Senate Bill 1829 reauthorizing the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) initiative which expires at the end of September.

According to the Coalition, the bill extends the program at level funding for five years without many of the burdensome provisions included in the House reauthorization bill. View a side-by-side analysis here.

HV Resource Center Assesses Impact of Increased MIECHV Funding

If the federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program was reauthorized with increased funding, states would serve significantly more families, build infrastructure, create jobs, and generally strengthen services in their states and communities, according to a new survey by the National Home Visiting Resource Center (NHVRC).

Two bills to reauthorize the program, slated to expire at the end of the September, provide for no funding increase over five years.

Over the next week, home visiting and other early childhood advocates are expected to rally around “Strong Families Act of 2017,” a bipartisan Senate bill reauthorizing MIECHV introduced last week by Senators Chuck Grassley and Bob Menendez. Unlike the proposed House reauthorization bill – Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824) – the Senate version does not include a state match requirement – viewed as harmful to the program by most advocacy groups. Neither bill, however, includes a funding increase.  The National Home Visiting Coalition, a diverse group of nearly 50 organizations working to support the federal home visiting program, is calling for a five-year reauthorization with incremental funding increases until MIECHV reaches the funding level of $800 million per year.

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.