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AAP Statement on House Committee Consideration of Home Visiting Program Reauthorization

9/13/2017 by: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) welcomes efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV) program during today’s consideration of a bill, the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824) in the House Ways and Means Committee. The AAP is encouraged that the Committee is considering a five-year reauthorization of the program, but we are concerned about harmful policy changes that would undermine the program’s strong bipartisan history.

“MIECHV provides federal funds for voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten age. It helps improve child and family health, including by promoting school readiness and academic success, connecting families to community resources and supporting parental development of educational and work-related skills. The proposed state funding match included in H.R. 2824 would undermine the stability of the program and its ability to reach vulnerable children and families nationwide.

“MIECHV at its core is a bipartisan program, which is why it is also so troubling that H.R. 2824 is not bipartisan and that the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons (CUFF) Act is being separately considered today with an understanding that it will pay for MIECHV reauthorization. The CUFF Act may sound positive, but in effect, it would deny many children, adolescents and young adults SSI benefits, which help cover the cost of care for mental and physical disabilities. At a time when so many children and families are facing adversity, eroding federal funding for one vital program serving those communities to fund another is not a workable solution.

“The AAP is urging Congress to pass a bipartisan bill with long-term, increased funding for MIECHV to meet more families’ needs. It is essential that such an effort not pit critical safety net programs for children and families against each other. We look forward to working with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to reauthorize this critical program in a bipartisan way.”

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds