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 HHS Convenes Advisory Committee on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program Evaluation

By Brent Ewig, MHS
Director of Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP 

Last March, HHS convened the Advisory Committee on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Evaluation for its first session. An archived webcast of the meeting is available here. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the design, plan, progress, and findings of the evaluation required for the home visiting program. The Committee is to review, and make recommendations on, the design and plan for this evaluation; maintain and advise the Secretary regarding the progress of the evaluation; and comment, if the Committee chooses, on the report to be submitted to Congress.
 

Study design options for a national evaluation were formally presented to the Committee for review. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has contracted with MDRC, formerly known as Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, to develop the design options for the evaluation of the home visiting program.  

As specified in the legislation, the evaluation will provide a state-by-state analysis of the needs assessments and the states' actions in response to the assessments. Additionally, the evaluation will provide an assessment of: (a) The effect of early childhood home visiting programs on outcomes for parents, children and communities with respect to domains specified in the Affordable Care Act (such as maternal and child health status, school readiness and domestic violence, among others); (b) the effectiveness of such programs on different populations, including the extent to which the ability to improve participant outcomes varies across programs and populations; and (c) the potential for the activities conducted under such programs, if scaled broadly, to enhance health care practices, eliminate health disparities, improve health care system quality and reduce costs.  

The Committee includes up to 25 members who are experts in program evaluation and research, education and early childhood development. The Committee includes ex-officio members representing HRSA and ACF.