By a vote of 92-8, the Senate approved legislation April 14 that will reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early-Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program through September 30, 2017. The bill also extended authorization for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The legislation (H.R. 2) faced possible late opposition from conservatives, but in the end only eight senators voted against it. The overall bill principally addressed Medicare payments to physicians, an issue important to both parties. It received similarly strong bipartisan support in the House in March. It now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. (Update: The president signed the bill on April 16).
According to ZERO TO THREE, an organization that supported the home visiting extension, many states would have been forced to stop taking new families into the program if it had not been approved. Instead, the legislation will extend the program at current funding levels, now $400 million per year.
“MIECHV’s passage, together with the extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, shows that investment in young children continues to be a bipartisan issue in both the House and the Senate – a rare feat these days,” said Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE in a statement.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy applauded the extension of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), one of several federal evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.
“Extending PREP for two years provides states, communities, and tribes with important funding that will allow them to continue offering a variety of evidence-based programs to help some of the most vulnerable youth in our country delay pregnancy and prepare for adulthood,” said Andrea Kane, Senior Director for Policy at The National Campaign. “At the same time, this funding will support innovation and evaluation in order to continue expanding knowledge about what works.”
- Chronicle of Social Change, Federal Home Visitation Program Reauthorized; $800m Over Two Years (April 15, 2015)
- Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Evidence Base Grows, New Social Impact Bond in DC (August 19, 2014)