On Friday, HHS released the first preliminary information and research on the home visiting program the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV). The research referred to as, Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation or MIHOPE focuses on the initial planning, outreach and target families. The research partners for this and future reports are MDRC, James Bell Associates, Johns Hopkins University, Mathematica Policy Research, the University of Georgia, and Columbia University. The program was created as part of the ACA to fund home visiting starting in federal fiscal year (FY) 2010 through the middle of FY 2015 (it was extended through 2016 last spring). The legislation also required an evaluation of MIECHV in its early years along with a report to Congress due by March 31, 2015. The funding and program have drawn some positive attention because of the required evaluations and requirements to invest in evidence-based and evidence-informed home visiting programs. The initial year was spent in federal and state planning so this first research, from a practical standpoint, cannot draw any significant conclusions but lays a basis for on-going research. Findings in this report include:
States used initial MIECHV funds primarily to expand the use of four evidence based home visiting models in at risk communities . The national home visiting models most frequently chosen by states for MIECHV funding were Early Head Start ‐ Home Based Program Option, Healthy Families America, Nurse‐Family Partnership, and Parents as Teachers. As intended, states targeted counties with high rates of poverty, child maltreatment, and premature birth, among other indicators of risk.
MIECHV funded programs serve a group of mothers with many needs. When they entered the study, more than 30 percent of women had symptoms of depression, almost 20 percent had health problems that limited their activities, 92 percent were receiving some form of public assistance, more than three‐quarters had no more than a high school diploma, and a tenth reported being the victim of intimate partner violence.
MIECHV funded programs are designed to help parents sup port t he healthy development of infants and toddlers and overcome the problems low income families face. MIECHV encouraged some local programs to broaden the outcomes they focused on, and home visitors reported that they were generally well trained and supported in working with families to address a wide range of outcomes. Local programs also reported having the management information systems and infrastructure they needed to implement programs effectively. Read the reports at The Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation: Early Findings on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program – A Report to Congress