Statement on Governor Wolf’s 2020-21 State Budget Proposal

“Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs improve maternal health, child well-being and family self-sufficiency. Six evidence-based programs currently operate in Pennsylvania using public (state and/or federal) and private funds to support their programs.

“Only 5 percent of the pregnant women, children and families who would benefit the most from evidence-based home visiting programs currently receive services.

“The proposed 2020-21 state budget is disappointing and a missed opportunity since it does not include investments in evidence-based home visiting programs to expand services to additional children and families.

“In fact, it stalls our progress made over the past three budgets in growing these investments, which had propelled Pennsylvania as a national leader. In each budget, home visiting received about $5-6 million of an increase each year for the past three years – not a significant amount when considering the overall level of funding increases contained each year in the DHS budget.

“Rather than expand services to children and families, the $1 million increase in the Community-Based Family Center Line (within the Office of Child Development and Early Learning budget in DHS) preserves federal slots through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV).

“While the funds allotted in the budget show we’re not losing ground, we’re not gaining it either, and building successful families by providing healthy and safe home environments through consistently demonstrated, evidence-based home visiting programs takes a greater commitment than maintaining the status quo.

“We urge lawmakers to invest in Pennsylvania children and families by supporting a targeted, modest increase to expand evidence-based home visiting programs to additional children and families in the fiscal year 2020-21 budget.”

What People Are Saying

”Without evidence-based home visiting, I would not be where I am today. The Family Support Center did more than help me get back on my feet; they gave me hope. “
Father who benefited from home visiting services with Family Check-Up
”As we know, a critical period of time in a child’s life where a significant impact (negative or positive) can be made on their development is birth through age 3. We also know that this age group (in fact up to age 5) is one of, if not, the most vulnerable population in society. Here in Montgomery County, our Office of Children and Youth continues to place tremendous focus on family engagement efforts to ensure that children are being adequately cared for by family in their homes and to avoid foster care placement whenever possible. That means embracing supportive programming that educates at-risk families on ways to avoid child abuse and neglect. It’s important to provide this type of support so all children in our county can live safe, happy and productive lives.“
Nadine Miller, Deputy Administrator, Resource Division, Office of Children and Youth, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
”A mother’s physical, emotional and mental health prior to pregnancy and birth play a crucial role in determining the outcome of a pregnancy and that child’s subsequent development. For young mothers, evidence-based home visiting can help ensure they get the proper care they need. In home visits, nurses and other trained professionals engage with a pregnant woman or mother, as well as her partner and other family members, educating them on the importance of regular well-child visits and helping parents to understand the important role that they themselves play in their child’s development.“
Dr. Robert Cicco, Pittsburgh Neonatologist, Allegheny County Medical Society President and the former President of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
”Parents are a child's forever teacher. And, to do well, you need to be well.“
Susan Evans, Early Head Start
”From identifying postpartum depression to helping deal with substance use disorders, these programs empower families to make proactive, positive choices that prove beneficial to healthy development. The good news is that evidence-based home visiting programs can positively impact the lives of these young families, building confidence and imparting them with the tools necessary to overcome many challenges so they can successfully raise their children.“
Julie Mansfield, MSN, RN, manager with Nurse-Family Partnership
”As a working parent with young children, the enormous responsibility, mental load, and physical exhaustion are very real. While I am fortunate to have a support network, I am also aware that many families face additional challenges such as poverty, mental health diagnoses, and substance abuse. Evidenced-based home visiting provides an opportunity for parents to learn from a trained and knowledgeable family coach who can support the health and well-being of the caregiver and child. The research is clear that investing in families during this critical time of early childhood reaps returns for future generations.“
Lissa Geiger Shulman, Public Policy Director, Trying Together
”As law enforcement officials, my colleagues and I are certainly tough on crime, but we also know that we can’t arrest and prosecute our way out of the crime problem. It is important for us to be proactive and help connect at-risk families and their children with proven supports. Every day law enforcement officials see firsthand the consequences of inadequate parenting and home lives. We are certainly not alone in believing that strong families are the foundation of our communities, and children from strong families have a greater chance of being healthy, productive and law-abiding citizens. Parents are, of course, their children’s primary teachers and influence. That’s why evidence-based home visiting programs are so vital.
Angela Mattis, Montour County District Attorney
”Children don't arrive with instruction manuals, but parents can learn to be confident in their child rearing practices with the support of family, friends and community services. Pennsylvania's 55 Parents as Teachers (PAT) home visiting programs work closely with families to build trusting relationships that address critical parenting behaviors and promote protective factors that support optimal child development. Many PAT families are young parents, face poverty and/or have other challenges that the certified parent educators help them navigate. Parents as Teachers, a family-centered, results-driven approach is a cost-effective solution for families in Pennsylvania.“
Karen Shanoski, M.Mgt. Partnerships Project Manager PA Parents as Teachers State Office
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What People Are Saying

”Without evidence-based home visiting, I would not be where I am today. The Family Support Center did more than help me get back on my feet; they gave me hope. “
Father who benefited from home visiting services with Family Check-Up
”As we know, a critical period of time in a child’s life where a significant impact (negative or positive) can be made on their development is birth through age 3. We also know that this age group (in fact up to age 5) is one of, if not, the most vulnerable population in society. Here in Montgomery County, our Office of Children and Youth continues to place tremendous focus on family engagement efforts to ensure that children are being adequately cared for by family in their homes and to avoid foster care placement whenever possible. That means embracing supportive programming that educates at-risk families on ways to avoid child abuse and neglect. It’s important to provide this type of support so all children in our county can live safe, happy and productive lives.“
Nadine Miller, Deputy Administrator, Resource Division, Office of Children and Youth, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
”A mother’s physical, emotional and mental health prior to pregnancy and birth play a crucial role in determining the outcome of a pregnancy and that child’s subsequent development. For young mothers, evidence-based home visiting can help ensure they get the proper care they need. In home visits, nurses and other trained professionals engage with a pregnant woman or mother, as well as her partner and other family members, educating them on the importance of regular well-child visits and helping parents to understand the important role that they themselves play in their child’s development.“
Dr. Robert Cicco, Pittsburgh Neonatologist, Allegheny County Medical Society President and the former President of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
”Parents are a child's forever teacher. And, to do well, you need to be well.“
Susan Evans, Early Head Start
”From identifying postpartum depression to helping deal with substance use disorders, these programs empower families to make proactive, positive choices that prove beneficial to healthy development. The good news is that evidence-based home visiting programs can positively impact the lives of these young families, building confidence and imparting them with the tools necessary to overcome many challenges so they can successfully raise their children.“
Julie Mansfield, MSN, RN, manager with Nurse-Family Partnership
”As a working parent with young children, the enormous responsibility, mental load, and physical exhaustion are very real. While I am fortunate to have a support network, I am also aware that many families face additional challenges such as poverty, mental health diagnoses, and substance abuse. Evidenced-based home visiting provides an opportunity for parents to learn from a trained and knowledgeable family coach who can support the health and well-being of the caregiver and child. The research is clear that investing in families during this critical time of early childhood reaps returns for future generations.“
Lissa Geiger Shulman, Public Policy Director, Trying Together
”As law enforcement officials, my colleagues and I are certainly tough on crime, but we also know that we can’t arrest and prosecute our way out of the crime problem. It is important for us to be proactive and help connect at-risk families and their children with proven supports. Every day law enforcement officials see firsthand the consequences of inadequate parenting and home lives. We are certainly not alone in believing that strong families are the foundation of our communities, and children from strong families have a greater chance of being healthy, productive and law-abiding citizens. Parents are, of course, their children’s primary teachers and influence. That’s why evidence-based home visiting programs are so vital.
Angela Mattis, Montour County District Attorney
”Children don't arrive with instruction manuals, but parents can learn to be confident in their child rearing practices with the support of family, friends and community services. Pennsylvania's 55 Parents as Teachers (PAT) home visiting programs work closely with families to build trusting relationships that address critical parenting behaviors and promote protective factors that support optimal child development. Many PAT families are young parents, face poverty and/or have other challenges that the certified parent educators help them navigate. Parents as Teachers, a family-centered, results-driven approach is a cost-effective solution for families in Pennsylvania.“
Karen Shanoski, M.Mgt. Partnerships Project Manager PA Parents as Teachers State Office