U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services $2,435,374 for its Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program services to individuals during pregnancy and to parents with young children. The senators secured this funding in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that was signed into law earlier this year.
“This boost in funding and expanded flexibility will ensure MIECHV programs across New Jersey and the country can continue providing critical services as the pandemic drags on,” said Sen. Menendez, the Senate lead of the MIECHV program and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy. “Home visitations by nurses, social workers and other professionals are proven to improve the prenatal health, development, education and economic self-sufficiency of low-income children and families. I’m committed to making sure Congress continues to provide the resources and support the program needs to thrive and help struggling families across the nation.”
“As the United States grapples with a maternal mortality crisis, home visits by health professionals have been shown to improve maternal health outcomes and to support the long-term development of children,” said Sen. Booker. “I’m proud to announce this federal investment for New Jersey’s own home visitation program which has already assisted thousands of birthing people and provided critical services to new parents and their children.”
Sen. Menendez secured a provision in the ARP that provided an additional $150 million for staffing and servicing for MIECHV programs across the country. The provision also includes expanded flexibility for program operators to use funding to purchase technology needed for virtual home visits, and emergency supplies such as formula, food, water, hand soap and sanitizer, diapers, and prepaid grocery cards. In May, the NJDOH was awarded $1,208,546 from the ARP to support the program
Through MIECHV, nurses, social workers, or other professionals visit at-risk families in their homes to evaluate their living situations and provide information on resources available to improve the health, educational, and economic opportunities for at-risk children. Resources include health care, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition education or assistance.
“Through our Nurture NJ work to end New Jersey’s maternal and infant health crisis, we know how critical it is to provide resources directly to new and expecting mothers,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Home visitation programs allow families to receive comprehensive care in a setting where they are most comfortable, and in turn, providers can give information on other resources that can improve maternal, infant and family health outcomes. This funding will undoubtedly bring us closer to our goal of making New Jersey the safest and most equitable place to deliver and raise a baby.”
Sen. Menendez is the Senate champion of the MIECHV program and led the charge for a five-year reauthorization in 2017 to ensure families across the nation continue to receive services from this important program. In New Jersey, all twenty-one counties are served by this program. 5,672 New Jersey families and 7,549 New Jersey children benefited from MIECHV programs in 2019.