U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Representative John Carney, today announced a total of $2,991,355 in federal funding for the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The grant will build on DHSS' current home-visiting program to help at-risk families receive home visits from nurses and social workers to improve maternal and child health,child development, school readiness, economic self-sufficiency, and child abuse prevention.
"This grant will help Delaware families and children get help and guidance for health and social services when it is most often needed -- in a child's early years," Senator Carper said. "By helping new parents get access to preventative care and support services, we can help protect children and drive down health care costs for everyone. This is just the kind of program I envisioned when I supported the Affordable Care Act."
"Children thrive best in home environments that are both nurturing and supportive, and where caregivers have the resources they need to foster a safe, healthy, and loving home," Senator Coons said. "This program will provide grassroots family development training by getting at the heart of where family development occurs -- in the home. Encouraging health and social workers to provide training to families in a nonthreatening, easily accessible way will help ensure better outcomes for at-risk Delaware families."
"The first few years of a child's life are critical to their physical and mental development," Congressman Carney said. "This grant will strengthen the Delaware home-visiting program to ensure that vulnerable children and their families are building the foundations for rewarding lives through preventative health care, early education and parental engagement.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, research has shown that home visiting programs can improve outcomes for children and families, including improving maternal and child health, reducing child maltreatment, increasing parental employment, and improving the rate at which children reach developmental milestones.
"Home-visiting programs play a critical role in the nation's efforts to help children get off to a strong start. Parenting is a tough job, and helping parents succeed pays big dividends in a child's well-being and healthy development," said HHS Secretary Sebelius.
The development grant, which is funded by the Affordable Care Act, was awarded to 13 states and jurisdictions that currently have modest home visiting programs and want to build on existing efforts. The funding was announced on September 22 and is for a two-year grant period. States that successfully complete development grants can compete for future expansion grants.