Home Visiting - One Year Later

Home Visiting - One Year Later 

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

One year ago, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of the most exciting and direct provisions in this law from an MCH perspective is the addition of a new section of the Title V statute that creates a Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. This program for the first time provides leadership and a dedicated mandatory federal funding stream to support the expansion of home visiting programs.  

This provision also represents one of the most exciting and significant changes to the Title V MCH program – and happened just in time to coincide with our 75th Anniversary of Title V. With a strong focus on expanding evidence-based models, the law will provide $1.5 billion in mandatory funding to states over the next five years.  

Here’s an overview on progress in developing this program to date:

 

       In June 2010, HRSA issued a funding announcement indicating that approximately $90 million formula grants would be made available to states to provide for evidence-based home visiting programs. The first step to receive funding via the Affordable Care Act Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program was submission of an application for funding and state applications were due July 9, 2010. These applications included plans for completing the statewide needs assessment and initial state plans for developing the program in order to meet the criteria identified in the legislation.

 

       In July 2010, HHS allocated $88 million in grants to support home visiting programs. The state’s portion of funds was allocated by a formula based on the number of young children in families at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level. $500,000 was immediately available for states to support their planning, needs assessments and to begin planning programs.

 

       In July 2010, HHS also requested public comments on the criteria for evidence of effectiveness of home visiting models. To view AMCHP’s comments, click here.

 

       The second step to receive federal funding was submission of the required statewide needs assessment. These documents were due to HHS by September 2010. Guidance was provided for completing the statewide needs assessment required by law of all states, irrespective of whether they intend to apply for home visiting grants, as a condition for receiving FY 2011 Title V MCH Block Grant allotments.

 

       The last step for a state electing to apply for a home visiting grant will be submission of an Updated State Plan. On February 8, 2011, HHS released the third supplemental information request (SIR) for the submission of the updated state plan for a state home visiting program. The SIR provided instructions for completing the last step necessary for the release of home visiting grant funds. Submissions are expected within 90 to 120 days of issuance.

 

So now the action really turns to the states to begin the crucial work on implementation. AMCHP once again expresses our deep appreciation to our advocacy partners who worked so hard to help this program become federal law, and our federal partners who are working nonstop to support state implementation. Many critical decisions will be made in the coming months as programs are launched or expanded. We look forward to continuing to support states, reviewing progress again here in one year, and anticipating the positive outcomes this program will provide to thousands of families in the years to come.