HRSA and ACF Release Introductory Information on New Home Visiting Program
May 11, 2010
On May 7th, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) released introductory information on implementation of the new home visiting program that was included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Importantly, the release makes clear that, at the federal level, policy and program decisions will be made jointly between HRSA and ACF. Collaboration between child-serving agencies is also expected at the state level. Collaboration and coordination between agencies that serve children and their families is critical in designing effective state programs that will help ensure positive outcomes for children and families across a broad array of domains, including improved maternal and newborn health, greater school readiness and reduced child maltreatment.
Recognizing that the new law requires states to complete a new needs assessment to receive their Maternal and Child Health Block Grant funds and to apply for funding under the new home visiting program, the release indicates that information on the needs assessment is forthcoming. In the meantime, HRSA and ACF encourage states to start preparing by:
• Reading Section 2951 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
• Gathering the information required for the needs assessment as detailed in the law
• Thinking about how agencies in the state can collaboratively develop a needs assessment that coordinates the Title V needs assessment, the community-wide strategic planning and needs assessments under the Head Start Act, and the inventory of unmet needs and current community-based and prevention-focused activities under the Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPTA)
The release also reiterates that states must select program models that are linked to benchmark areas specified in the law. HRSA and ACF will develop criteria to identify evidence-based models. Since the law sets forth important detail about the meaning of evidence-based models, states intending to apply for grants can begin thinking about what models make sense for them, prior to the notice of funding announcement, by reviewing section 511(d)(3)(A) of title V of the Social Security Act.