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.