In Focus: Systems and Financing

Feb 11, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

New CLASP Report Highlights the Impact of the MIECHV Program in States and Tribal Communities

By Christina Walker and Stephanie Schmit

A new CLASP report, An Investment in Our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children, written in collaboration with the Center for American Progress, highlights how the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program funding has played a central role in expanding home visiting services to vulnerable families - including in hard-to-reach rural areas and tribal communities. 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 is set to expire at the end of March without further Congressional action. 

Based on interviews with 20 states and 2 tribal organizations, An Investment in Our Future shows how federal MIECHV funding is being used to expand home visiting services to reach more families while also building the infrastructure to support well-coordinated and effective home visiting programs. Early successes from MIECHV include:

  • Expansion of evidence-based home visiting to serve and retain more vulnerable children and families in high-risk communities and keep them engaged in the programs.
  • Establishment of formal referral and intake systems within home visiting communities and across services that support children and families, ensuring they receive the best services to meet their needs.
  • Provision of systemic training, technical assistance, and professional development to support the home visiting workforce.
  • Creation of data collection systems, allowing grantees to analyze, evaluate, and report on data to demonstrate achieved child and family outcomes and improve program quality.
  • Coordination among home visiting and other early childhood programs as well as the creation of centralized intake systems, which are collaborative approaches to engaging, recruiting, and enrolling families in home visiting programs across programs and organizations.
  • Use of promising practices and other innovations to better serve at-risk populations with unmet needs.

Twenty-two in-depth state and tribal MIECHV grantee profiles are also available. The profiles describe how grantees are evaluating the direct impact of home visiting and expanding and improving services for vulnerable communities.

MIECHV grantees have built home visiting systems that reach some of the most vulnerable children and families in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 25 tribal communities, and many U.S. territories. Continuing this investment and ensuring its sustainability will allow states and tribal grantees to continue expanding services to new communities and other underserved populations, as well as sustain the positive outcomes achieved thus far.  Congress should ensure that funding for the MIECHV program continues.  Failure to do so would result in reduced services and the dismantling of the statewide systems-building progress for families in communities in every state.

Visit www.clasp.org/miechv to read the full report, Executive Summary, and state and tribal profiles.

Nov 19, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

President Signs Child Care Bill Bringing Major Changes to Subsidy Programs

By Hannah Matthews

After moving through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with strong, bipartisan support, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 was signed into law today by the President. This is a milestone for the CCDBG law, which has not been updated in nearly 20 years and that governs both state child care assistance for low-income working parents and state efforts to improve child care quality.  CLASP commends all those in the House, Senate and Administration who worked to make this bill become reality. 

The CCDBG Act of 2014 is an important step forward for improving the health, safety, and quality of child care. It makes crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, supporting greater continuity of care, and helping parents stay and move up in their jobs.

Achieving a new vision of child care for low-income children – one in which child care is safer, better quality, and more affordable for parents – requires both improved policies and a significant infusion of dollars. Yet, the funding increases authorized in the bill are woefully inadequate to support implementation of new provisions and retain access for families. Even before this reauthorization, state child care subsidy systems show declining enrollment with the number children served in CCDBG having fallen to a 15-year low. The goals of the legislation will be impossible to achieve unless we stem the tide on declining participation and take seriously the need for significant investments in child care at the federal, state, and local levels.

CLASP looks forward to working with Congress to appropriate the funding necessary to implement the updated law’s important improvements and with states to implement new policies in ways that best support low-income working parents and their children.

Oct 23, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

Screening as a First Step for Early Success

By Christine Johnson-Staub

As national health and child development leaders and policymakers work to increase developmental screening rates and improve child outcomes, child care and early education programs are critical partners. A new CLASP brief, First Steps for Early Success: State Strategies to Support Developmental Screening in Early Childhood Settings, explores the role of child care and early education programs in connecting children to developmental screening, as well as national efforts and funding streams to support developmental screening and its relationship to early childhood.

Developmental screening is a critical first step to marking milestones and identifying problems or potential problems that may threaten children’s foundation and lead to additional delays and deficits later in childhood. While developmental delays and disabilities cut across all populations, children from poor and low-income families can be at higher risk. Yet, many young children never receive a screening, and among those who do receive screens, many do not obtain effective follow-up that leads to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of further problems.

State leaders can meet short-term and long-term goals for children’s success by implementing finance and policy strategies that create partnerships between health care, child care, early intervention, and other professionals and programs serving young children to increase the number who receive regular screenings and related follow-up services. First Steps for Early Success includes state policy examples and recommendations stakeholders can draw on when considering how to expand access to developmental screening in early childhood settings.

Read First Steps for Early Success: State Strategies to Support Developmental Screening in Early Childhood Settings>>

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