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Helping New Parents and Gaining Long-Term Savings

Summary: 
Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, discusses new grants under the Affordable Care Act that will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know.

New and expecting mothers and fathers across the country will have a helping hand in those first, crucial years of child rearing thanks to the Affordable Care Act.  Today, Secretary Sebelius announced $88 million in grants for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.  These grants will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know. 

The concept is simple and the results are strong.  Research shows home visits can yield substantial improvements in school readiness, father involvement, and parent employment as well as reductions in child abuse, neglect, and dependence on public supports.  Home visits can actually reap Medicaid savings through fewer preterm births and emergency room use.  Independent non-partisan organizations estimate that every dollar spent on evidence-based home visitation yields between $3-6 of savings to federal, state, and local governments.

By building on models that have been developing  across the country, we’re working to support this crucial service and, at the same time, reaping long-term savings and rewards as children grow up in healthier environments.

For more information on Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, go to: www.hrsa.gov

Melody Barnes is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council