Health & Development
Washington Awarded $25 Million Grant to Expand Home-Visiting Services in At-Risk Communities
Washington is one of 10 states that received a competitive federal grant to expand voluntary home-visiting services to families in some of the state’s most at-risk communities. Over the next three years, Washington is expected to receive about $25 million from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. In the first year, $6.6 million will directly support 545 families in some of the state’s most at-risk communities.
“That Washington won one of these competitive grants speaks to our strong state-level partnerships and the strong support of our Governor and Legislature for home visiting,” said Department of Early Learning Director Bette Hyde. “These dollars will help us serve more families who choose to participate, and in turn help more children in Washington grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school and life.”
Home visits are a voluntary service in which nurses or other trained professionals offer information and support related to healthy child and family development. Depending on the program, these visits in the family’s home can happen during pregnancy up to a child’s fifth birthday. Evidence shows that for families receiving home-based support, their children are born healthier and are less likely to suffer from abuse or neglect.
Making home visiting available to at-risk families is a key strategy in Washington’s 10-year Early Learning Plan. Right now, only 2 to 11 percent of eligible families receive evidence-based home visiting services. In 2010, the state Legislature created the Home Visiting Services Account as a way to match and leverage public and private dollars to fund, support and evaluate more evidence-based and promising home visiting programs in the state’s most vulnerable communities. As a result – and with today’s award – Washington now invests six times more money in home visiting services than it did just two years ago.