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.”