A new report by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), and Center for American Progress (CAP), offers cutting-edge information about how states have used federal funding to expand voluntary, evidence-based services to young children and their parents.
An Investment in Our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children, comes just weeks before congressional funding for the program is scheduled to expire.
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, or MIECHV, program provides federal resources to expand home visiting to at-risk children and parents. Research shows that home visiting can lead to improved outcomes, such as better maternal and child health, increased school readiness, and the prevention of child injuries, abuse, and neglect. MIECHV provides grants to all 50 states and many tribal communities to support maternal and newborn health, school readiness and achievement, and family economic self-sufficiency. The report details how states and tribes have used home visiting funds to expand and improve services for vulnerable communities, including training staff to ensure higher-quality services, creating and maintaining data for tracking and program improvement, and developing new and innovative approaches to meet local needs.
The report includes information gathered through interviews with 20 states and two tribal organizations regarding how federal support through MIECHV is allowing states and tribes to make major gains in four areas:
- Innovation: MIECHV gives state and tribes the freedom and flexibility to be creative in how they achieve grant goals by piloting and evaluating promising practices.
- Collaboration: MIECHV helps states integrate services across programs that serve young children, ensuring more effective and efficient use of funds.
- Building data systems:MIECHV enables investments in new data systems, allowing states and tribes to better leverage information to support evaluation and continuous quality improvement in the home visiting community.
- Systems building:MIECHV fosters new relationships and processes that coordinate the range of available home visiting services, ensuring families’ needs are met efficiently.
“Our report shines a light on how this federal investment in at-risk families has allowed states and tribes to increase the number of families served and make their systems more efficient. Hearing firsthand how many families are being helped, it is clear that Congress needs to reauthorize MIECHV and continue its support of quality and innovation,” said Stephanie Schmit, CLASP Senior Policy Analyst and co-author of the report.