FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago, Illinois, March 23, 2010 – Prevent Child Abuse America applauds Congress and the Administration for enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Among the many provisions that benefit children, the legislation signed by the President today will dramatically improve the health and development of our nation’s children and families through the expansion of high-quality, voluntary, home visitation services, such as Healthy Families America.
“We have long known that home visiting is one of the most effective ways to improve child health and development,” said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “Now, for the first time, there is federal funding dedicated solely to expanding access to this valuable service.”
Research has shown that high-quality, voluntary early childhood home visitation programs lead to proven, positive outcomes for children and families and evaluations of Healthy Families America, Prevent Child Abuse America’s nationally recognized, signature home visitation program, have consistently found that program participants showed:
Reduced child maltreatment;
Decreased pre-term, low weight babies;
Increased utilization of prenatal care;
Increased access and use of primary care medical services;
Increased child immunization rates to improve health outcomes;
Increased school readiness;
Decreased dependency on public assistance and other social services; and
Improved parent-child interaction.
Because of this proven track record, evidence-based early childhood home visiting services have long enjoyed bipartisan support at the state and federal levels. Home visitation services across the country have struggled, however, with unreliable and unsustainable funding, a situation further exacerbated by the recent state of the economy. Overcoming this challenge has long been one of Prevent Child Abuse America’s top priorities.
The new law provides states with $1.5 billion over five years to fund the home visitation services that best suit the needs of their communities, while putting important parameters in place to assure quality of services.
“While no one piece of legislation can prevent child abuse and neglect,” said Hmurovich, “the enactment of the new state grant program for home visitation is an important step towards ensuring that all children have the opportunity to grow up in a healthy and nurturing environment.”