Department of Human Services Receives $12.88 Million Federal Grant to Support Families

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Governor Wolf and the Department of Human Services announced yesterday that Pennsylvania received a $12.88 Million Federal Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV).

The MIECHV program is designed to improve coordination of services for at-risk communities; identify and provide comprehensive services to improve outcomes for families who reside in at-risk communities; and strengthen and improve the programs and activities carried out under Title V of the Social Security Act.

“This federal grant will only enhance my Administration’s investments in early childhood education and support for families in need,” says Governor Wolf. “It’s state and federal partnerships like these that can produce significant and positive outcomes for children and families throughout the Commonwealth.”

The evidence-based home visiting program funded by MIECHV in Pennsylvania supports families by connecting parents to primary health care providers, dentists, and insurers, and by increasing the number of children who are immunized.

MIECHV programs focus on educating parents on child development including the completion of health, behavior, and child development screenings. Participating children with developmental delays are referred for early intervention. Healthy Families America, one of the programs Pennsylvania funded, has demonstrated efficacy in decreasing the number of low birth weight babies born to mothers enrolled in the program.

The MIECHV program was established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to expand voluntary, evidence-based early childhood home visiting program services. DHS’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has been administering two MIECHV grants since 2011.

“Effective and early interventions in a child’s life can make a big difference over a lifetime,” said Acting DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “This grant award is a great opportunity for Pennsylvania to continue to help families of pregnant women and young children with home visiting services that have been proven to get results.”

OCDEL will disburse MIECHV grants in Pennsylvania and will issue a Request for Application in March 2015. This competitive opportunity will select eligible applicants for a one-year grant period, with the option of four one-year renewals, dependent on funding. Eligible applicants include existing MIECHV grantees (whose grants expire June 30, 2015) and new applicants who are already implementing one of the four evidence-based programs:

a. Early Head Start

b. Healthy Families America

c. Nurse-Family Partnership

d. Parents as Teachers

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