Home visiting pairs families with skilled professionals such as nurses, social workers, and other clinical workers to ensure that at-risk children get a good start in life. By visiting within the home, professionals can identify issues early on and intervene before a problem develops. The home visiting programs make important connections for these families to improve maternal and child health, prevent child abuse and neglect, encourage positive parenting, promote child development, and school readiness. These connections are the protective factors that build the families’ own ability to promote their own health and well-being and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and other instances of trauma in the home. Home visiting programs utilize evidence-based models and approaches which focus on skill development to enable self-sufficiency. Services broadly range from multi-year programs, which assist young mothers, to short term targeted aid to help a family overcome a specific crisis.
In New Hampshire, home visiting is a patchwork of federal grants and programs that provide a spectrum of services to at risk families. One key federal program is the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting “MIECHV” program, also know as New Hampshire’s Home Visiting Program. This is a multi-year home visiting program which uses the model called Healthy Families America (HFA). This is a voluntary, individually-tailored program which provides supports to families in their homes, including providing information about children’s health, development, and safety, and when appropriate, referrals to support services. The evidence-based HFA program provides intensive services over a 3-4 year period of time, serving families with multiple risk factors who require a high degree of support. Services are provided by a combination of highly skilled and trained home visitors and nurses. The positive impacts go beyond child and maternal health, as HFA reduces recurrence of child maltreatment by 33%, improve school readiness, and set a strong foundation for family economic self-sufficiency. In 2021 MIECHV supported New Hampshire families with over 5,211 home visits to 900 participants in 380 families. 65.5% of households served were low income 5.1% of households included a pregnant enrollee under the age of 21.
New Hampshire is supported by a federal grant, but those funds alone cannot sustain programming or even begin to meet the total need statewide. Due to limited funding and the increased costs of doing business in NH, some communities are faced with the inability to serve families in need. Investment in MIECHV makes sense due to the positive health outcomes but also because general fund investment benefits from a 3:1 (state to federal) match, increasing the state’s ability to serve families greatly.
The House Finance Division III did not restore the prioritized needs requested by the agency to adequately support the MIECHV program. While this does not put the entire MIECHV program at risk, it limits federal match dollars and diminishes the availability of a critical service in the face of growing need among communities.
New Futures urges Finance committee members to restore the general funding requested in the Department’s agency budget request for New Hampshire Home visiting formula grant (MIECHV home visiting program). Without the requested funding, many New Hampshire families will not be able to access the services they desperately need. The positive impacts go beyond child and maternal health, as home visiting reduces the recurrence of child maltreatment by 33%, improve school readiness, and set a strong foundation for family economic self-sufficiency.
There's more you can do!
Call members of the House Finance Committee to tell them why this program is so critical
(remember, numbers listed are their personal numbers - call at a reasonable time!)
|Committee Member||Phone Number|
|Committee Phone Number||603-271-3165|
|Chairman Kenneth Weyler||(603) 642-3518|
|Vice Chairman Keith Erf||(603) 529-2512|
|Representative Harry Bean||(603) 455-2993|
|Representative Thomas Buco|
|Representative Jose Cambrils||(603) 731-8287|
|Representative Karen Ebel||(603) 748-3876|
|Representative Jess Edwards||(603) 370-7885|
|Representative Tracy Emerick||(603) 498-6002|
|Representative Gerald Griffin||(603) 673-7467|
|Representative Mary Hakken-Phillips|
|Representative William Hatch||(603) 466-9491|
|Representative Mary Heath||(603) 622-0895|
|Representative J.R. Hoell||(603) 315-9002|
|Representative David Huot||(603) 524-7641|
|Representative Peter Leishman||(603) 924-0004|
|Representative Dan McGuire||(603) 782-4918|
|Representative Maureen Mooney|
|Representative Kate Murray||(603) 501-8989|
|Representative Sharon Nordgren||(603) 643-5068|
|Representative Joseph Pitre||(603) 755-2447|
|Representative Daniel Popovici-Muller|
|Representative Jerry Stringham||(603) 239-2310|
|Representative Joe Sweeney||(603) 327-7184|
|Representative Laura Telerski||(603) 320-3957|
|Representative Mary Jane Wallner||(603) 225-5249|