West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch today announced federal funding has been awarded in the amount of $5.7 million for the state’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.
“These funds will allow DHHR’s Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health the opportunity to continue to provide voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with young children before kindergarten entry,” said Crouch.
The Home Visitation Program, through DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health’s Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health, provides families, particularly those considered at-risk, with necessary resources and skills to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of families taking advantage of the Home Visitation Program, the result of an increase in the availability of services throughout West Virginia,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “In 2016, our program made 17,470 home visits across West Virginia working directly with more than 4,000 parents and children. This effort helps to ensure our children have a healthier start early in life by connecting their caregivers with services and resources.”
Nationally the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Visitation Program serves nearly 42 percent of U.S. counties with high rates of low birth weight infants, teen births, families living in poverty or infant mortality. More than 3.3 million home visits have been conducted through the program, serving parents and children in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories. Three-fourths of families participating in the program had household incomes at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The program also helps address the opioid crisis, serious mental illness, and childhood obesity.
Funding was received from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as part of $342 million distributed to 55 states, territories, and nonprofit organizations.
To learn more about the Home Visitation Program, please visit: https://www.wvdhhr.org/wvhomevisitation/.