Blog | September 16, 2021

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 25th Anniversary - Support for MIECHV

How Fight Crime: Invest in Kids helped bring greater access to voluntary home visiting programs to parents across the US

2010 | Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), the first-ever federal support for voluntary home visiting, passed Congress in large part due to the hard work of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members.

2005 | The Education Begins at Home (EBAH) Act, the first significant federal funding for voluntary home visiting, authorizing $500 million over three years nationwide, was introduced in the Senate.

2005 | With Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) in place as the lead sponsor, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members worked with Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) to cosponsor the legislation and become the lead Republican sponsor of it in the House. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids played a major role in ensuring that Rep. Platts joined and that it was a bipartisan bill in the House.

2006 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members worked heavily to get the House Education Subcommittee Chair Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), the “gatekeeper of the EBAH Act in the House,” to support the bill. A Delaware Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member, Police Chief Neal Strauss, spoke on the Hill at a briefing. And 30 of his fellow Delaware law enforcement leaders signed a letter to Rep. Castle to support the bill. Finally, several members from Delaware met with Rep. Castle in Wilmington, asking him to schedule the first ever EBAH hearing. Rep. Castle committed to doing so by September 2006.

The hearing happened in September and was met with a very high turnout, including an unusual appearance at a subcommittee hearing by Chairman of the full House Education Committee, Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA). Rep. Castle explained of Rep. McKeon’s presence: “That was all Fight Crime’s work.” Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Colorado member, Milliken Police Chief Jim Burack, flew out on a day’s notice to testify.

In the meanwhile, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids was working on the Senate side too, to garner bipartisan, bicameral support.

It was very clear to me – and to other folks in the coalition – that this home visiting victory would not have been accomplished without the members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. And the meetings, and the sign-on letters, and the op-eds, and everything else they did to make that a reality.

Miriam Rollin, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

2007 | Fight Crime: Invest in Kids coordinated an event with members in the district of the new House Education Committee Chair, Rep. George Miller (D-CA). The event marked the release of a research report on the benefits of home visiting programs, and received a large amount of press coverage in the process.

2008 | In April, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus came from the Committee Chair’s district to speak at a House briefing. In June, Chairman Miller moved to call an official full committee hearing. Chairman Miller said at the end of the hearing that it was the Fight Crime members who had brought to his attention the importance of home visiting and the EBAH Act– and that he was committed to holding a bill markup the following week, which he did.

That same year, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members sent a letter to then-Senator Barack Obama, who cosponsored the bill in the Senate. When running for president, he included in his policy platform the importance of home visiting investments and this bill.

January 2009 | Newly-elected President Barack Obama included in the FY10 budget a major proposed investment of $8.6 billion in new mandatory funding over 10 years, to provide home visiting for all at-risk parents who want it. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids worked with the White House to ensure this provision would include evidence-based, high-quality home visiting, targeted to districts and families which were low-income.

2009 | After the budget proposal comes out, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members worked to ensure the support of the key Senate Finance Committee, by placing op-eds and ads in key committee members’ states, meeting with those policymakers, and sending letters from 300 Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members living in those key states.

The House-passed health reform bill included a new $750 million investment over five years in high-quality, evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs, targeted to at-risk parents. The Senate version of the bill included $1.5 billion over five years in guaranteed funding.

2010 | Passed in 2010, the final home visiting provision enacted included a $1.5 billion investment in mandatory funding over five years for evidence-based, targeted home visiting programs.

2012 | MIECHV was reauthorized after Fight Crime: Invest in Kids sent a letter to Congress signed by more than 1,500 law enforcement leaders advocating for the CAN-MIECHV reauthorization.

About Home Visiting:

Home visiting programs provide young mothers, single parents, and low-income families with voluntary visits from specially trained nurses or other professionals who offer coaching in parenting skills and provide emotional support. Studies of the NFP program show that the children served were half as likely to be abused and neglected by age 15, and had half as many arrests and convictions by age 19.

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