More than $106 million in grant funding
is being allocated to 46 states and the District of Columbia to expand programs designed to provide parenting help to pregnant women and families with children under the age of 5.
HHS plans to issue funding for this fiscal year to state-run programs operating as part of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
, started in 2010 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
According to the HHS website, the voluntary program provides at-risk families with home visits from social service and child development professionals who give advice and guidance on parenting issues such as improving health, preventing childhood injuries and maltreatment, and better preparing children for school. The agency claims such programs have been shown to prevent child abuse and neglect.
“The Home Visiting Program helps to ensure that young families have the option to participate in a program that promotes their children’s healthy growth and development,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said. “Today’s announcement provides continued funding to support local home visiting programs as they work to improve the lives of children and families.”
A total of around $1.5 billion has been allocated to the program over the past five years, according to HHS. The effort is a part of President Barack Obama’s Early Learning Initiative
, which seeks to provide support to children during their beginning years. Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHsjohnson