Strong Families Make a Strong Nation
Karen Howard (Former Staff)Early Childhood Health
Today you have the opportunity to invest in the future of our nation by joining forces with a national effort to strengthen America’s families and our nation. We are proud to say that the national Home Visiting Coalition is leading this vitally important effort.
The national Home Visiting Coalition, a group consisting of nearly 50 advocacy and home visiting programs, is thrilled to announce the launching of its website (homevisitingcoalition.com) and campaign to urge Congress to reauthorize and expand the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Currently funded at $400 million annually, MIECHV provides funding to 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia, and numerous Tribes and tribal organizations to expand evidence-based home visiting programs. But, funding for this important program will expire this September without action by Congress to reauthorize it.
Our campaign is based on the simple but bold notion that when you empower parents with knowledge, skills and resources early in the lives of their children, you strengthen families, and strong families are the backbone of a strong and prosperous nation.
To date, thousands of families have accessed the strength of the MIECHV program. Take Jennifer for example. Married with her third child on the way, Jennifer did not know where to turn for help. She had recently left her family and support system to move with her husband to Washington, DC. There were deeply troubling signs along the way and, when they finally relocated to Washington DC, Jennifer’s husband became increasingly over-protective and violent. Jennifer was isolated and scared. By all accounts, Jennifer had good reason to be worried about her life and her children’s future.
Fortunately, while Jennifer received prenatal care at a local clinic, she voluntarily enrolled in an evidence-based home visiting program that partnered her with a specially-trained home visitor who regularly came to her home. Jennifer’s home visitor became her lifeline, who instilled in her the knowledge, skills, and confidence to turn her life around. Jennifer’s home visitor provided valuable information about the stages child development, helped her access nutritional support, and helped her plan her escape. Through the course of a home visiting program and afterward, Jennifer moved out of their home and into a shelter, eventually securing stable housing. Today, Jennifer’s children are doing well. And Jennifer is well on her way to economic stability—she saved money for a vehicle, has a part-time job, and is looking for full-time employment. Jennifer’s home visitor was instrumental in helping her beat the odds that seemed stacked against her and her children.
Jennifer’s story and the success stories of countless other parents whose lives have been helped by home visiting is why more funding is needed for evidence-based home visiting programs. At its heart, home visiting restores the principles of respect for families and the importance of community.
We invite you to join our efforts to lift up the importance of MIECHV. Learn about the life-changing power of home visiting and the benefits of MIECHV and then, join forces with our movement by raising your voices in every town and community across our nation to let Congress know that MIECHV helps secure our children’s future and our nation’s prosperity.
Together, we can help make families strong and strengthen our nation.
This was originally published on the Home Visiting Coalition’s blog. The national Home Visiting Coalition, co-convened by Karen Howard, Vice President for Early Childhood Policy at First Focus and Diedra Henry-Spires, CEO of the Dalton Daley Group.