American Rescue Plan (ARP)is an opportunity for Westchester County to be bold by design and expand our home visiting services to serve more pregnant mothers and young families who have lower incomes.
New York State has been awarded almost $1.4 million in appropriations to enable Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) programs that support children and families hardest hit by the pandemic. Westchester County could receive a share of these funds appropriate to our population size and need, giving us a unique opportunity to expand the capacity of home visiting programs which currently only serve 4% of children under age 3 from households with lower incomes. Other cities, counties, and states have moved towards universal home visiting and provide models of how to financially sustain these programs including tax levy dollars (New York City), Medicaid (Oregon and New Jersey,) and contributions from health insurance companies (Rochester, Monroe County.) Expanding home visiting services in Westchester County will potentially prevent negative health outcomes and empower young families with children ages 0 to 3 to better thrive.
“Home visiting (HV) is a proven and effective strategy for improving maternal and child health outcomes, reducing child abuse and neglect, promoting social-emotional bonding, and increasing school readiness,” remarked Allison Lake, WCA executive director, at the Westchester County Public Hearing on American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding held in-person and online on September 13, 2021. She encouraged the County Executive and his staff to use the funding to invest in expanding these programs that have a high return on investment for early childhood development. WCA reinforced our in-person petition by submitting a written letter to County Executive Latimer on September 15th urging legislators to use this moment to support this model that is also effective in neutralizing against racial disparities in Black maternal health and birth outcomes which have been a disturbing trend.
Regional Home Visiting Collaboration
A momentum of increased funding and discussion about the possibilities for home visiting is growing as we prepare to convene with other partners at the summit of the New York State Home Visiting Coordination Initiative on September 24, 2021. WCA is proud to serve as a backbone organization for our regional group and we look forward to providing our own social media campaign from Summer 2021 as a catalyst of ideas for a regional, public education campaign. Look out for more details of what this dedicated group of providers and advocates create soon.
WCA strongly recommends Westchester County use the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding to expand existing home visiting programs in our communities. We look forward to working with the administration to make this happen!
Download our letter on the importance of investing in home visiting here.
Read other articles in our eBulletin #18
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