WA Home Visit Program Awarded $8.7 Million Grant

The Washington State Department of Early Learning was awarded $8.7 million in funding for its Washington State Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Expansion. The program expansion will serve 1,500-1,800 high-risk families. These programs improve measures in order to better understand child and family outcomes.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced this funding as part of a larger $106.7 million home-visit package in FY 2014 grant awards to 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five jurisdictions as part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (Home Visiting Program) established by the Affordable Care Act. These funds will allow states to continue and expand voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to women during pregnancy and to parents with young children up to age five.

The Home Visiting Program helps to ensure that young families have the option to participate in a program that promotes their children’s healthy growth and development. Today’s announcement provides continued funding to support local home visiting programs as they work to improve the lives of children and families.

The Home Visiting Program builds upon decades of scientific research, which shows that families that choose home visits by a nurse, social worker, or early childhood educator during pregnancy and in the first years of life benefit from important support services for healthy children and families. Home visit programs have been shown to prevent child abuse and neglect, and promote child health and development.

“These awards allow states to reach more parents and families in an effort to improve children’s health while at the same time building essential supports within their communities,” said Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., RN, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

HRSA administers the Home Visiting Program in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families to provide states with the resources they need to expand home visiting programs and early childhood systems.

The Home Visiting Program serves as one part of a prenatal to age five continuum with the other parts of President Obama’s Early Learning Initiative: both high-quality infant and toddler care through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and universal Pre-K to optimize the essential foundations in early childhood for future healthy development and well-being.