Press Release: $5 Million Increase for Evidence-Based Home Visiting a Small Step

The governing body members of Pennsylvania’s home visiting coalition said Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal to increase the Community-Based Family Centers line by $5 million is a small step in the right direction, and released the following statement:

“Evidence-based home visiting is a research-proven tool to support the development and safety of our most vulnerable children and their families. The return on investment is significant, as evidence-based home visiting ultimately improves the health, safety, literacy and economic security of families who voluntarily enroll in the programs. We appreciate the proposed $5 million increase, but it is important to note additional, sustained investments are needed to provide access to more families and children needing this support.

“In part due to recent state investments there are six evidence-based models receiving state and/or federal dollars and each of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties has at least one model operating within it. Approximately 16,000 children are estimated to be served in the current state fiscal year, which means only 5 percent of children and families who need home visiting programs the most will be served. This clearly illustrates the need to expand these services to additional families and children.

“We look forward to working with policymakers to maximize this opportunity to invest in the children and families that need it the most.”


The coalition is working to build successful families in Washington and Greene Counties, joining leaders for an event at Blueprints.

Back row: Lissa Geiger Shulman, Director of Public Policy, Trying Together; Brenda Fronzaglio, Director, Blueprints; state Senator Camera Bartolotta; and Leigh Carlson Hernandez, Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh.

Front row: Renee Cooper, Blueprints parent; Darlene Bigler, CEO of Blueprints; Joan Benso, president and CEO of PPC; and Dr. Robert Cicco, PPC board member, neonatologist and president of the Allegheny County Medical Society.

Childhood Begins at Home officially launches at an event at the Lancaster Women and Babies Hospital.

Back row:  State Representative Steven Mentzer; State Representative Brett Miller; State Representative Bryan Cutler; State Representative Mike Sturla; State Representative Keith Greiner; and Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman.

Front row: Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children; Shyanne Troop of Ephrata and her daughter; Mary Lee Steffy, manager of community health and wellness at Nurse-Family Partnership; and Theresa Whitesel, RN supervisor of Nurse-Family Partnership.

Family support advocates, including Chester County Maternal and Child Health Consortium (MCHC) executive director Milena Lanz and Bruce Clash, Pennsylvania State Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids at a Childhood Begins at Home campaign event at MCHC in West Chester.

Child advocates, including Delaware County Medical Society executive director David McKeighan, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children president and CEO Joan Benso and Maternity Care Coalition senior director of policy Rosemarie Halt at a Childhood Begins at Home campaign event at the Maternity Care Coalition in Upper Darby.