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The House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), today held a hearing to discuss the reauthorization of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which is currently set to expire at the end of September 2017.
The MIECHV program is an evidence-based program that helps to improve the lives of families in at-risk communities. Unlike most federal social programs, MIECHV funding is tied to real results. House Republicans have long called for more programs to follow this evidence-based approach to ensure limited taxpayer dollars are actually delivering the intended results and helping those most in need. In fact, the House Republican “A Better Way to Fight Poverty” agenda specifically calls for more programs to replicate MIECHV’s approach.
At the beginning of the hearing, Chairman Smith explained how MIECHV evaluates home visiting programs for funding: “For a home visiting model to be funded, an evaluation must show the program has demonstrated significant, positive outcomes in areas such as reducing child abuse and neglect, improving maternal and child health, and improving economic self-sufficiency … States have also been held accountable for demonstrating positive outcomes for children and families. If they don’t show improvements in four of six areas specified in law, they have to explain how they plan to improve their services to get results, which again, provide real help to struggling families.”
Two of today’s witnesses, Beth Russell and Rosa Valentin, shared their own experience working together through the Nurse-Family Partnership program in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—a home visiting program supported by MIECHV.
Rosa was 14 years old when she found out she was pregnant and was unsure how she would be able to take care of her baby while also achieving her education goals. Her nurse, Beth, helped her have a healthy pregnancy, cope with stress, and become a confident mom.
Discussing the steps she took to help Rosa set goals that would make her a successful parent, Beth said: “In every instance, I meet the client where she is and hopefully, I can be a positive force for good in her life amidst often stressful situations … I had Rosa make a list of her needs and goals, and at that first visit made several referrals to get her the right services that she needed to complement our visits.”
By using the evidence-based Nurse-Family Partnership model, Beth successfully helped Rosa through her pregnancy and continues to guide her through her first two years of motherhood. Today, Rosa is a 16-year-old junior in high school, is on track to graduate next year, and is a loving mom to a healthy 20-month-old daughter.
Ways and Means members on both sides of the aisle are working to reauthorize the MIECHV program and replicate its success so children and families receive real help that improves their lives.
Click here to learn more about today’s hearing.
Click here for Smith’s full opening statement.
Click here for a press release on Smith's recent visit to Panhandle Public Health District Healthy Families America in Scottsbluff, NE, to learn firsthand about how MIECHV is improving outcomes for Nebraska families.