WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today applauded the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement that Pennsylvania will receive $2 million in funding for home visitation programs through the new health care law. The Affordable Care Act funding was provided to expand proven home visitation programs that provide care and information to families, help break the cycle of poverty and improve the health and well-being of low income children and families.
“This program can make a major difference for American families who are struggling to raise their families and work toward a better future,” said Senator Casey. “I am pleased that Pennsylvania is receiving this funding to help expand high-quality services to help families and their children reach their full potential.”
During 2009, Senator Casey and Senator Robert Menendez introduced the Evidence-Based Home Visitation Act, which was designed to establish or expand home visitation programs proven through rigorous testing to improve the health and well-being of low-income children and families. This legislation – the first known to require that services meet rigorous scientific standards proving effectiveness – became a part of the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010.
Pennsylvania has strong home visitation programs which have achieved success at breaking the cycle of poverty and improving the health and development of vulnerable families.
Each state’s governor designated the state entity to apply for and administer Home Visiting program funds on behalf of the state. The state’s portion of these funds is allocated by formula based on the number of young children in families at or below 100% of the Federal poverty level in the state as compared to the number of such children nationally. Of the Federal funds provided to the states and jurisdictions, $500,000 is immediately available to support their needs and resource assessments and to begin planning their programs. The remainder of the grant funds will be released for use after the state or jurisdiction completes its needs assessment and, based on that needs assessment, submits an approvable plan for addressing the home visiting needs they have identified.