Last-Minute Reauthorization of Federal Home Visiting Act Offers Good News for Families

February 1, 2023
Blog Post

The home visiting field ushered in a major win this new year with the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Near the end of December 2022, President Biden signed the federal government omnibus spending bill into law.

The massive spending package included the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act, which is a bipartisan five-year reauthorization and expansion of the MIECHV program. This concludes a long effort from home visiting and maternal and child health advocates who pushed Congress to reauthorize the legislation before MIECHV was set to expire at the end of 2022.

The MIECHV program is the Health Resources and Services Administration’s federal program that funds states and territories to administer evidence-based home visiting programs. The program’s goal is to improve outcomes for infants, children, and families and strengthen their overall community. These home visiting programs support pregnant people and parents or caregivers with young children, primarily from communities that face greater risks and barriers to achieving positive maternal and child health outcomes. Grantees of this funding build and scale their state’s home visiting systems and have the flexibility to address their community’s needs as they see fit, as long as majority of the funding goes towards evidence-based programs (typically using well-known models and curriculum).

This five-year reauthorization will be the first time the funding has been increased, and it will double the federal investment in the program. Details about the legislation include:

  • Increase the funding from $400 million annually to $800 million over the course of the five years to ensure states can support their home visiting workforces and ultimately reach more families
  • Increase the amount of funding for Tribal home visiting
  • Continue the flexibility to use telehealth or virtual home visits as part of service delivery

In DC, MIECHV dollars are administered by DC Health and currently fund two programs: Mary’s Center’s Healthy Families America program and Parents as Teachers program. In FY22, DC received $1,629,454. DC is still waiting for more information on the federal dollars they will receive in FY24. A state match is required through this reauthorization and under the new funding formula in the legislation, some states may see reductions in their federal investments. The Home Visiting Council will monitor the updates and hope to see a positive increase in federal support.

DC Action was one of 700 organizations that signed on to the National Home Visiting Coalition’s letter urging Congress to vote on this historic increase and reauthorization. DC Action and the DC Home Visiting Council celebrate this national win and hope the legislation as a major step forward for DC’s families and young children.