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Health Care Law Expands Support for Children and Families

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To improve the health and development of children, 10 states received grants to provide early childhood supports and home visits to families who volunteer to receive these services, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

These awards are part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) created by the Affordable Care Act. The nearly $72 million in funding announced today will allow states to expand or establish their home visiting program.

"Home visits from an experienced counselor can help provide skills and links to important services and early childhood education," said Secretary Sebelius.

Today's awards include states that have demonstrated a commitment to operating successful early childhood systems for pregnant women, parents, caregivers and children from birth-to-eight years of age. The awards also include states that are developing new home visiting programs, using proven strategies, to support families and improve health and developmental outcomes.

"These investments will give states a significant boost in their efforts to keep children safe and healthy," said Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

HHS' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) collaborates with HRSA on the implementation of the home visiting program. The two agencies provide states guidance and assistance in early learning and development, the prevention and identification of child maltreatment, the improvement of maternal and child health outcomes, and family engagement.

"Helping children and families succeed involves many approaches and voluntary home visits play a key role in strengthening families and putting children on solid footing," said George Sheldon, the ACF acting assistant secretary.

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