Congress Acts to Extend MIECHV for Two Years

By Stephanie Schmit

Last night, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for doctors providing Medicare services. This bill, which passed the U.S. House last month, also provides a two-year extension of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and other important initiatives for the health and wellbeing of children and families, including: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Express Lane Eligibility (ELE), Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA), and Community Health Centers (CHCs). Each extension maintains current funding levels. The vote (92-8) was overwhelmingly bipartisan.

MIECHV provides voluntary, evidence-based family- and child-related home visiting programs in every state. The program targets high-risk families who are most likely to benefit from intensive home visiting services, which use trained professionals to help parents acquire the skills to promote their children’s development. The home visiting programs also help families connect to necessary services, such as health care or community resources, and monitor child development and progress on developmental milestones.

CLASP has written extensively in a national report about the early successes of MIECHV and how federal funding is being used in states and tribes to expand home visiting services to reach more families while also building the infrastructure to support effective, well-coordinated home visiting programs. We describe in corresponding state profiles how grantees are evaluating the direct impact of home visiting and expanding and improving services for vulnerable communities.

This is a great victory for young children and their families. The bill is now headed to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.