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Pascrell Offers Two Amendments to Strengthen Home Visiting Reauthorization

Amendments would strike onerous new requirements that undermine states' ability to provide important services to children and families

U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, offered two amendments yesterday to the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824), a bill reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). Both amendments were voted down along party lines.

Rep. Pascrell’s first amendment would strike a provision in the bill that adds a new state match requirement to the program, forcing states and counties to put up funding in order to continue receiving federal dollars. This amendment was denied with a 13-21 committee vote. The second amendment, also denied on party line vote, would strike the provision in the bill that would add “increasing employment and earnings” to the MIECHV program’s measured outcomes.

“I strongly support reauthorizing the MIECHV program; however, the reauthorization bill introduced by House Republicans would make changes to the program that would severely blunt the positive impact this program has on at-risk children and families,” said Rep. Pascrell. “My first amendment would have ensured that states don't see this important funding disappear when they are unable to put up matching dollars. And in light of the fact that MIECHV is not an employment program, the second amendment would have ensured that programs that make kids healthier, safer, and more ready to learn when they start school are not penalized by outcome measures that are not in alignment with the goals of the program. Committee Republicans voting these amendments down is not just a disappointment, but will also have serious negative repercussions for families participating in this program.”

MIECHV provides pregnant women, new mothers, and families with young children with regular, planned visits from trained professionals who help them improve their healthy living and parenting skills, promote child development, and access needed resources and services in their communities.

“We appreciate Congressman Pascrell’s leadership efforts to eliminate two provisions in the MIECHV reauthorization that would be harmful for New Jersey and many other states, which could eliminate valuable home visitation services to thousands of families with young children in all 21 counties of our state,” said Rush Russell, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey. “We continue to urge for a bipartisan approach for a five-year reauthorization of this effective program, without adding additional federal requirements that will cut services to vulnerable families.”

Rep. Pascrell’s state match amendment was endorsed by The Home Visiting Coalition, The Ounce of Prevention Fund, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, Prevent Child Abuse USA, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, and Parents as Teachers.

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