Dept. of Health Awarded $3.5 Million for Home Visit ProgramOctober 8, 2017, 10:00 AM HST (Updated October 8, 2017, 9:37 AM)
The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) has been awarded $3,510,137 in federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support the state’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
The funds will provide voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to women during pregnancy and to parents with young children.
“Home visiting services help to ensure our keiki and their families have a healthier start,” said Matthew Shim, DOH Family Health Services Division chief. “This federal funding will allow the state to continue to provide this important service to expecting mothers and families during a critical time in their child’s development.”
The MIECHV Program serves about 850 Hawai‘i families each year with more than 10,000 home visits conducted statewide annually. Families are screened for eligibility in birthing hospitals or families may contact MIECHV contracted providers online to determine their eligibility.
Services include assisting mothers through pregnancy and post-delivery, providing support to mothers learning to breastfeed and care for their baby’s health and counseling to acquire knowledge and understanding of child development milestones and positive parenting techniques.
Assistance is also offered to help families to set goals for the future, continue their education and find employment and childcare solutions.
Prenatal care is essential for ensuring the safe birth of a healthy baby. Pregnant women enrolled in the program also reported breastfeeding their infants for an average of 24.6 weeks or for the first 6 months of life as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All of the families enrolled in the program received counseling on the results of the child’s developmental screenings and parents spent more time in adult education programs to move toward economic self-sufficiency.
“The MIECHV Program helps parents and caregivers connect with services and resources and improve the skills they need to support their families’ well-being and provide the best opportunities for their children,” said HRSA Associate Administrator for Maternal and Child Health Michael Lu, M.D., M.S., M.P.H. “In these voluntary programs, trained nurses, social workers, early childhood educators, or other trained professionals meet regularly with expectant parents or families with young children in their homes, building strong, positive relationships with families who want and need support.”
More information on HRSA’s Home Visiting Program can be found online.