“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.”