Walorski Applauds House Passage of Home Visiting Program Extension

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Walorski Applauds House Passage of Home Visiting Program Extension

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program Helps Families with Young Children

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded House passage of legislation to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, a successful program that provides education and assistance to families with young children. In April, Walorski met with Hoosier families who participated in Healthy Families St. Joseph County, a voluntary home visiting program supported by MIECHV.

“MIECHV supports important programs – like Healthy Families St. Joseph County – that make a real difference in people’s lives and put kids on a stronger path to success,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “It’s an evidence-based program that gets results, and this bill would ensure Hoosier families can continue thriving with the help of home visitors. I hope the Senate quickly passes this vital bill and sends it to the president’s desk.”

BACKGROUND

MIECHV is an evidence-based federal program that has shown positive outcomes in improving prenatal health, supporting childhood development, increasing financial independence, and preventing child abuse and neglect through voluntary home visiting services.

The Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824), which Walorski helped introduce in June, reauthorizes the MIECHV program at current spending levels through fiscal year 2022. The legislation, which was approved by the Ways and Means Committee earlier this month, also:

  • Requires states to demonstrate how MIECHV continues to improve the lives of families each year;
  • Prioritizes home visiting resources for families and communities identified as most in need, while taking into account community resources to increase the likelihood of success;
  • Strengthens and expands evidence-based home visiting through state, local, and private partnerships; and
  • Offsets program costs by prohibiting an individual with an outstanding arrest warrant for a felony or parole violation from receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of the bill is available here. The text of her remarks is below.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise in strong support of the Increasing Opportunity Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act.

In my home state of Indiana, three of the nine counties eligible for MIECHV funds are in my district. In April, I had the pleasure of visiting with Healthy Families St. Joseph County to hear firsthand the good work they’re doing in Indiana’s 2nd District.

I heard from a single mom who had no job, no place to live, and very little money when she gave birth to her son. But with the help of Healthy Families, she turned those long odds into success. The mother gained confidence to raise her son, and her son gained a shot at a thriving life that he may not have had without this program.

Home visitors helped over 2,600 Hoosier families in situations like this in Indiana last year. MIECHV is a program that gets results. It works. We know this because of the statistics, but we hear it in the stories that they share with us. Parents get the tools and the confidence they need to raise their children. This improves outcomes for their children in their early critical years and sets them on a better path as they grow up. And the program helps root out deeper issues like drug abuse and domestic violence that destroy families and hinder a child’s development.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve heard from people in my district who successfully broke the cycle of poverty, it’s this: It’s one thing to provide money, but if that money comes on a one-size-fits-all basis, people cannot break the cycle. Checking a box doesn’t break the cycle. Human interaction, looking at each person as an individual and not just a number, resolving underlying issues unique to that person’s situation, having a person come alongside and say, “I’m with you to do this together” – breaks the cycle.

MIECHV is a great example of a program that does this. I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I yield back.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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