The federal Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) has awarded $10.2 million in funding to the FL MIECHV initiative to support continued implementation of evidence-based home visiting in the state. The FY18 award will maintain funding for sites in 25 high-need communities and four contiguous counties. FL MIECHV currently funds one of three evidence-based home visiting models in these communities – Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families Florida, and Parents as Teachers. It will also support state and local activities around Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), data collection and performance measurement, contract management and accountability, professional development, and the state evaluation. Additionally, the grant includes resources for updating the state home visiting needs assessment originally completed by the Florida Departments of Health (DOH) and Children & Families (DCF) in 2011. The needs assessment establishes communities that have priority for receipt of federal home visiting funding.
The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions was awarded funding to administer the MIECHV program for the state in 2013. In 2017, FL MIECHV-funded programs provided more than 22,000 home visits to nearly 2,000 families, including 960 pregnant women. Federal legislation authorizing MIECHV funding requires that all programs collect data to evaluate program performance and outcomes across six benchmark areas for all enrolled families:
- Maternal and child health;
- Childhood injuries and abuse and neglect;
- School readiness;
- Domestic violence;
- Family economic self-sufficiency; and
- Coordination of services.
Across these six benchmark areas, there are a total of 19 performance measures for showing improvement over time. Each of the measures addresses an important factor that can lead to improved health and development outcomes for at-risk children through evidence-based home visiting.