"Earlier this evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government beyond February 8th, when current funding expires. The bill also includes one important legislative priority for children, the Family First Prevention Services Act, but misses the opportunity to fund a critical program for children and families, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
"The Family First Prevention Services Act, which has long been supported by the AAP, takes critical strides toward reforming the child welfare system in a way that emphasizes prevention instead of family separation. The bill also creates safeguards to ensure children in foster care are placed with families, unless a non-family setting is necessary for their treatment needs. Pediatricians urge the Senate to preserve this legislation as part of its broader spending agreement.
"MIECHV funds voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten age. It is a bipartisan, successful program and its funding expired on September 30th. Families need reassurance that they will be able to continue to rely on this important program.
"The House also missed an opportunity to pass a permanent solution that will allow Dreamers—immigrants brought to the United States as children and who are now young adults—to remain in the United States.
"As this legislation advances and negotiations continue, the Academy urges the Senate to address unfinished business on key child health issues, including funding for MIECHV, a solution for Dreamers, and passage of Family First into law."
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.