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States receive grants for maternal-child visits

Thursday April 5, 2012
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To improve the health and development of children, 10 states received grants to provide early childhood support and home visits to families who volunteer to receive these services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced.

The awards are part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which was created by the Affordable Care Act. The nearly $72 million in funding announced this week will allow states to expand or establish their home visiting program.

Through the program (http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/homevisiting), nurses, social workers or other professionals meet with at-risk families in their homes and evaluate the families’ circumstances. They connect families to the sort of help that can make a real difference in a child’s health, development and ability to learn — such as healthcare, developmental services for children, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention and nutrition education or assistance.

The awards went to states that have demonstrated a commitment to operating successful early childhood systems for pregnant women, parents, caregivers and children from birth to age 8. Other states receiving awards are using proven strategies to develop new home visiting programs that support families and improve health and developmental outcomes.

"These investments will give states a significant boost in their efforts to keep children safe and healthy," Mary K. Wakefield, RN, PhD, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, said in a news release.

The Administration for Children and Families, a division of HHS, collaborates with HRSA on the implementation of the home visiting program. The two agencies provide states with guidance and assistance in early learning and development, the prevention and identification of child maltreatment, the improvement of maternal and child health outcomes and family engagement.

The awards went to:

• Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, $3,717,761.

• State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, $8,677,222.

• Iowa Department of Public Health, $6.6 million.

• Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Public Health, $6,971,342.

• Minnesota Department of Public Health, $8 million.

• New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, $9,430,000.

• Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, $9,027,586.

• Tennessee Department of Health, $6,571,353.

• Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health, $6,295,506.

• Washington State Department of Early Learning, $6,609,476.

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