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News & Press: Legislative Updates

Advocacy Alert: Home Visiting Renewal

Monday, November 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kia LaBracke
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The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV Program) supports the Wisconsin Home Visiting Program and provides voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children.

The MIECHV Program, which builds upon decades of scientific research, provides voluntary, culturally-appropriate, individually-tailored supports to families in their homes, including providing information about children’s health, development, and safety, and when appropriate, referrals to support services.

Unfortunately, negotiations in Congress may include provisions that threaten the programs' funding at baseline and by requiring a state-funded match.

Please contact House and Senate leaders from Wisconsin to urge stable funding of $400million annually for five years, with no state match.

Find your federal legislators here.

Some suggested talking points:

  1. Suggested script:

    Hello. My name is ________ and I'm from __________. I'm calling to urge Speaker Ryan to make sure that the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program is reauthorized for no less than its current funding level of $400 million annually for FIVE years without a harmful state match to make sure children and families in Wisconsin have the stability they need and deserve. Federally-funded home visiting has long been a bipartisan program and has decades of evidence proving that it works to improve health, to increase economic and educational opportunities, and to strengthen families. The clock is ticking. Every second that Congress waits is a second closer to lost services and lost jobs. Thank you.

    What to say if you’re asked why anything less than five years is harmful:

    • Funding MIECHV for less than five years reduces, and in some cases even damages, the program’s efficiency.

    • Two years of funding does not cover the two-and-a-half year – or longer – commitment that programs make to children and families.

    • Programs will be unable to plan long-term, undermining the stability of the program and making it harder for them to retain workers. It can take upwards of a year to replace a home visitor.

      What to say if they ask why the state match is harmful:

    • Making MIECHV contingent on a state’s ability to match federal funds dollar-for-dollar is likely to cause programs in some states to close. Nearly one-half of the states face budgetary shortfalls this year and state budgets must reflect what is actually in their coffers.

    • State that are unable to meet the match may be forced to curtail services or close their programs, resulting in the loss of home visiting services to children and families and the loss of home visitor jobs.

    • To meet the state match, states may be forced to cut other needed services or programs to divert money to pay for the matching requirements.

    • A state match may make MIECHV harder and more onerous to implement as it increases reporting and decreases state flexibility to meet the needs of children and families.