In Maine, we know that our children and families are the backbone of our communities and state. When they have the resources, support and opportunity to succeed early on, we all thrive. Home visiting programs, like Maine Families and Early Head Start, provide children and families critical support during the key developmental years, strengthening families and communities across the entire state.
Much like building a house, a child’s experiences in the first few years of life lay the groundwork for future brain development. Positive early learning experiences, which include nurturing interactions with caring adults, strengthen the foundation for later health, learning and life outcomes.
Home visiting programs are voluntary, evidence-based and designed to help promote healthy childhood development during the early years by providing expectant parents and parents of young children with education and support in their home.
Home visiting works to strengthen the entire family unit by guiding parents on health and development, positive parenting practices, and promoting economic and family stability. Parents are encouraged and linked with community resources to assist them with high school graduation, seeking higher education and obtaining gainful employment. Essentially, home visiting helps develop a robust lifetime scaffolding for more safe, stable, and prosperous communities. And the results are impressive.
Funding for Maine’s home visiting programs are made possible by the partnership between the federal and state government. As a result of this partnership, Maine Families was able to provide critical home-visiting and services to over 2,300 Maine families in all 16 counties in state fiscal year 2016.* And the outcomes match the research.
Of the children and families enrolled in Maine Families Home Visiting Program:
- 91 percent of expectant mothers received adequate prenatal care;
- 95 percent of children were up to date on well-child check-ups;
- And over 95 percent of Maine Families participants follow recommended safety practices, ranging from safe sleep to car safety.
Federal funds are an important source of support for Maine’s home-visiting program. The federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, established in March 2010 under the Affordable Care Act, provides funds to states for home visiting services and is set to expire at the end of September. Without this critical funding, Maine’s home visiting programs would not be able to serve as many children and families.
The best way to protect Maine’s home visiting programs is for elected officials to reauthorize MIECHV for five years, in its current innovative, flexible and effective form to ensure Maine families, businesses, and communities continue on the path to a thriving and dynamic future.
For more information on MIECHV and reauthroization, click here.
*Maine Families Home Visiting Data comes from 2016 Maine Home Visiting Summary Report by the Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Families Home Visiting Program.