Now that the House has acted on their version of a home visiting reauthorization (the Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824)), and the Senate has their version of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, (the Strong Families Act of 2017), advocates are strategizing how to extend the expired program before it has an impact on state efforts.
The most obvious target is a package that would include the reauthorization of CHIP, community health centers, and several other health care bills mainly within Medicare. During last week’s debate over CHIP, members in both congressional committees made that very suggestion.
The Home Visiting Coalition highlighted this fact and encouraged that strategy. They pointed out in a press statement that:
“Senator Grassley called for quick action on MIECHV stating [MIECHV] is a bipartisan program that supports evidenced based programs to improve maternal and child health, that prevent child abuse, and promote child development and school readiness. I would like to get it considered before too much time has gone on in the next few weeks and hope that I can have the support of the Chairman and the Ranking Member.”
Senator Portman (R-OH) shared his support by telling the committee “[MIECHV] is working… and is an evidence-based family support program that is saving costs and increasing quality.”
Representative DeGette called for consideration of the Senate MIECHV bill as a bi-partisan way forward on MIECHV while ranking Member Pallone asked that MIECHV be considered in a final package with CHIP and the other extenders passing out of the Energy and Commerce Committee.”
MIECHV expired on September 30. For the home visiting models across the country that receive MIECHV funding to continue to operate at full capacity, MIECHV must be reauthorized. The Home Visiting Coalition is calling for a five-year reauthorization of MIECHV that preserves the flexibility and stability the states need, and protects the home visiting services families rely on. The Coalition is also calling for an incremental increase in MIECHV funding to a total of $800 million annually.
To Contact your senator and urge them to support the Senate bill, go here.