Walorski Supports Extension of Home Visiting Program in Ways and Means Committee
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program Helps Families with Young Children
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today spoke in support of legislation to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program before its passage by the House Ways and Means Committee. In April, Walorski met with Hoosier families who participated in Healthy Families St. Joseph County, a voluntary home visiting program supported by MIECHV.
“MIECHV is a program that gets results. It works,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We know this because of the statistics, but we hear it in their stories, too. Parents get the tools and the confidence they need to be good parents. 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 identify and root out deeper issues like drug abuse and domestic violence that destroy families and hinder a child’s development.”
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, extends the successful federal program that provides education and assistance to families with young children.
The committee approved H.R. 2824, which reauthorizes the MIECHV program at current spending levels through fiscal year 2022. The legislation 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’s statement in the Ways and Means Committee is available here. The text of her remarks is below.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to rise in strong support today of H.R. 2824, the Increasing Opportunity Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act.
In my home state of Indiana, nine counties are eligible for MIECHV funds, and three of the nine counties are in my district. In April, I had the pleasure of visiting with state and local officials, staff, and families at Healthy Families St. Joseph County to hear firsthand the good work they’re doing to provide voluntary home visiting to over 800 children and families each year.
One parent told me: “I distinctly remember being in the hospital and thinking, ‘I’m a single mom. I have no job, I don’t have a good place to live. I have very little money. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m not ready to have a child.’” But with the help of Healthy Families, she turned those long odds into success. She called Healthy Families a “miracle.” This program gave the mother confidence to raise her son and gave her son a shot at thriving and developing that he may have never had.
Now take that one mother’s story and think about the fact that home visitors helped over 2,600 families in Indiana in fiscal year 2016. Thousands of families changed for the better, thousands of parents and children are getting a better chance of health and success.
Mr. Chairman, MIECHV is a program that gets results. It works. We all know that. We know this because of the statistics, but we hear it in their stories, too. Parents get the tools and the confidence they need to be good parents. 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 identify and 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 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 can’t 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 each person’s situation, having another person come alongside and say, “I’m with you, let’s do this together” – that’s what breaks the cycle.
MIECHV is a great example of a program that does this. I fully support this program, urge my colleagues to send this bill to the House Floor, and I yield back.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.