Parents as Teachers Joins Home Visiting Coalition in Push to Reauthorize Federal Funding for MIECHV Program

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Congress urged to act before the end of March to extend the authorization for the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

Federal funding is critical in helping local programs within the Parents as Teachers network...to open or expand services"

Parents as Teachers (PAT), a 30-year-old evidence-based home visiting model, and leader in the national Home Visiting Coalition, joined their colleagues in sending a letter with more than 750 signatories to congressional leadership, urging timely action to extend the authorization for the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. The letter urges lawmakers to act before MIECHV’s current authorization expires at the end of March.

MIECHV supports evidence-based home visiting initiatives that provide the support, experience and knowledge critical to success during pregnancy and through the first few years of a child’s life. As one of the leading evidence-based practitioners of home visiting, PAT is a key member of a broad bi-partisan coalition of national, state, local and tribal organizations and elected officials that support MIECHV reauthorization. Other national signatories include the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Association of Social Workers, National PTA, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Salvation Army.

“Parents as Teachers pursues a two-generation strategy that mentors parents to be responsible for their children’s health and well-being, to become their children’s most important and 'best' teachers, and to promote overall family and community well-being,” said Scott Hippert, president and chief executive officer, PAT. “Federal funding is critical in helping local programs within the PAT network—and other programs delivering evidence-based home visiting models—to open or expand services.”

As the letter highlights, decades of research show that home visiting can prevent and mitigate serious problems facing children and their families. These include poor birth outcomes, child abuse and neglect, and childhood cognitive disabilities. Research also shows that home visiting can improve school readiness and academic achievement.

MIECHV has a track-record of bipartisan support. Federal funding for voluntary evidence-based home visiting initiatives was first enacted by President George W. Bush. These efforts were consolidated and expanded in 2010, under MIECHV. A proponent of PAT since day one has been U.S. Senator (retired) Christopher “Kit” Bond, who utilized PAT services when he became a parent during his second term as governor in the mid-1980s. Bond now serves on the PAT board of advisors.

PAT partners with local entities to develop and manage home visiting initiatives in every state, the District of Columbia, all five territories, and with tribal organizations. MIECHV offers states considerable flexibility in the design and focus of their home visiting initiatives, while applying accountability requirements that ensure federal funding is used only for supports that are proven to work.

About Parents as Teachers: Founded in Missouri in 1984, Parents as Teachers serves more than 250,000 families in all 50 U.S. states, more than 100 Tribal schools and communities, and five other countries. Its internationally recognized network of affiliates uses an evidence-based model to deliver parent education primarily through personal home visits, equipping parents with knowledge and resources to prepare their children, from birth to kindergarten, for a stronger start in life and greater success in school. PAT programs operate in various settings, including schools, hospitals, faith-based organizations and housing communities. For more information, visit http://www.ParentsAsTeachers.org.

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James A. Boyle
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