Press Release: Statement on Governor Wolf’s 2021-22 State Budget Proposal

“The Childhood Begins at Home campaign is disappointed that the governor’s 2021-22 state budget proposal does not include an increase for voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs in Pennsylvania for the second year in a row. Given the current environment, the decision to not increase investments so more families are able to participate is perplexing because families need home visiting now more than ever.

“Beginning in the 2017-18 budget through 2019-20, the campaign saw momentum and support building in the form of steady funding increases to connect more pregnant women, children and families to voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services, and Pennsylvania was becoming a national leader for delivering services that improve maternal health, child well-being and family self-sufficiency.

“Even before the pandemic, Pennsylvania parents struggling to make ends meet and juggling the challenges of raising their young children benefited from voluntary visits that provide parent education and support. Under the crush of the current public health crisis, isolation, stress and unemployment have made home visiting more essential than ever. Not including funds to reach more families with young children makes little sense when these programs uniquely meet families’ needs in the early care and education continuum.

“Only 5% of the pregnant women, children and families who would benefit the most from evidence-based home visiting programs are served currently. The campaign sought a combined increase of $12.4 million in the Community-Based Family Centers and Nurse-Family Partnership line items in the 2021-22 budget.

“The governor’s remarks spoke to the challenges faced by young families just starting out in the Commonwealth – their challenges and dreams for their children – and how we can remove barriers to provide for a brighter future. We hope to work collaboratively with the administration and legislature to expand evidence-based home visiting services to match that commitment with the resources to make it a reality.”

The coalition is working to build successful families in Montour and Columbia Counties,  joining leaders for an event at the Danville Childhood Development Center.

Those in attendance were: Angela Mattis, Montour County District Attorney; Ashley Mensch, director, Columbia County Family Center; Allison Shay, parent educator, Parents as Teachers; a mother benefiting from voluntary home visits and Kari King, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Childhood Begins at Home held an event in March to highlight the need for more evidence-based home visiting in Montgomery County.

Those who participated included:

  • Nadine Miller, deputy administrator, Resource Division, Office of Children and Youth, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Kevin Steele, Montgomery County District Attorney;
  • Rosemarie Halt, senior director of policy, Maternity Care Coalition;
  • A mother benefiting from voluntary home visits; and
  • Kari King, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Family support advocates joined together at the Kingsley Center to discuss the need for evidence-based home visiting in Allegheny County.

The event included:

  • Marc Cherna, director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services;
  • Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department;
  • Cara Ciminillo, executive director of Trying Together;
  • Local families benefiting from voluntary home visits; and
  • Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Lycoming County First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade, joined with the Nurse-Family Partnership and other statewide and regional partners for a press conference at UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport, to discuss evidence-based home visiting and the Childhood Begins at Home campaign’s efforts to ensure more state funding for the programs in Lycoming County.