By: AIF Staff
Earlier this week, the House Committee on Ways and Means advanced legislation to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV) program which supports expectant mothers and parents improve their lives and the lives of their young children through one-on-one home visits and intensive support.
The Committee honored the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, a long-time champion of the program, naming the legislation in her honor. As ranking Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas noted during the Committee’s consideration of the bill:
“MIECHV is a critical program that supports vulnerable families and aims to improve the health of mothers and babies through pregnancy into the early years of a child’s life. It is a bipartisan bill and it reflects many of our Republican priorities, including increasing transparency about outcomes for families and targeting dollars to the neediest communities.
This bill would gradually increase funding from $400 million a year to $800 million a year over a five-year period, and introduce a state match as a way to expand overall service capacity across the country. The principle is simple: The federal government will invest where the states see value in investing.
It also ensures that new matching funds are allocated to states based on the number of children under five living below poverty – so funding goes where the greatest need exists.
The bill increases transparency by creating a state-by-state outcomes dashboard so we can see how interventions are impacting families, and maintains the current focus on high evidence standards.
Unlike many of our government programs, MIECHV is evidence-based – so we know the real impact on families and children and are able to direct funding toward what works.
The program has demonstrated success in supporting expecting families to increase healthy behaviors by coaching parents on child nutrition and development and mitigating risk factors to prevent child abuse and neglect.”
American Idea Foundation President Paul Ryan has long been an ardent supporter of the MIECHV program, which has been re-authorized under both Republican and Democratic Administrations.
The Ways and Means-passed legislation would build on the program’s strong base of evidence by increasing funding by $100 million and increasing the allocations for each state and territory. Given MIECHV has historically been funded by both federal and state governments, this reauthorization would increase the matching formula so for every $1 in state investments, the federal government would contribute $3.
It also would expand the transparency of data and evidence collected from the MIECHV program by adding additional reporting requirements and outcomes-based dashboards, which will help Congress track the impact of interventions over time. Even in a post COVID-19 environment, the legislation ensures that in-person, home visitations are required as part of the program which adds an important layer of accountability.
As Speaker Ryan stated during a visit to a Nurse-Family Partnership in South Carolina in 2021, MIECHV is changing lives and helping mothers, children, and communities across the country. It is an evidence-based success story and the Ways and Means Committee should be commended for advancing this reauthorization which will help expand opportunities and fight poverty in a data-driven way.