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HRSA Administrator and U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis Highlight Need for Reauthorization of Home Visiting Program during Meeting with Chicago Families

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
For Immediate Release
HRSA News Room

HRSA’s Voluntary Home Visiting Program Serves Illinois Parents and Children with Early, Evidence-based Supports that Improve Children’s Health and Well-being Across their Lifespans

Today, Carole Johnson, Administrator of the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) joined U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL) to visit the Primo Center for Women and Children in Chicago and meet children, families and home visitors supported through the HRSA Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Chairman Davis leads the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, which is responsible for crafting legislation to reauthorize and extend the home visiting program. Without action, federal authorization for the program is set to expire at the end of this federal Fiscal Year.

HRSA’s Home Visiting Program provides expectant parents and parents with young children living in communities that face barriers to care and services with critical in-home and community supports from early language development to safe infant sleep practices to parenting skill-building. Families choose to participate in home visiting programs, and partner with health, social service, and child development professionals to set and achieve goals that improve their health and well-being. The program builds upon decades of scientific research showing that home visits during pregnancy and early childhood improve the lives of children and families.

Representative Danny K. Davis: “Over the past decade, the MIECHV program has made a real, measurable difference in the lives of children and families in my community in Chicago and across the country. Continuing these life-transforming programs and bringing them to more families is a critical priority for me. I was fortunate to have a great partner in my Republican Ranking Member at the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee, Jackie Walorski. Jackie was tragically killed in a car accident a few weeks ago. She and I had already done so much work together toward a bipartisan reauthorization of MIECHV, and I want to honor her work and her memory as we continue our work. I thank the federal and state officials as well as local home visiting leaders and participants for joining this roundtable at the Primo Center for Women and Children to highlight the importance of MIECHV and the significance of Illinois as a national leader in home visiting.”

Health Resources and Services Administrator Carole Johnson: “The Home Visiting Program that HRSA administers in partnership with the State of Illinois and community-based organizations across the state is vital to the healthy development of Illinois’ children. We thank Chair Davis for his leadership in working to extend this program so that home visiting professionals including nurses, parent educators, social workers and others can continue to provide the skills and tools new parents want and need. We stand ready to continue to support his efforts, and thank the home visitors and families who shared their stories today about the importance of this program for Illinois’ children. We also thank the many champions in Congress who understand the impact the HRSA Home Visiting Program has across the country, including Representative Jackie Walorski who was a steadfast advocate for Healthy Families Indiana. We remember and share her commitment to helping children and families thrive in Indiana and across the nation.”

Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Early Childhood Kirsten Chernawsky: “Illinois has been recognized nationally as a leader in home visiting, thanks to a system that supports a variety of evidence-based models and innovative practices. To help strengthen our system and bring higher quality services to families, the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood’s Home Visiting Bureau recently restructured to align state funding streams with the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. This consolidation has allowed Illinois to better target funding to at-risk communities, support higher program quality, and strengthen community systems development.”

Primo Center CEO Christine Achre: “The Primo Center’s programs, most notably our home visiting program, provides the tools that are affirming of each child’s potential and self-worth, symbolic of a promise from the Primo Center to value them and advocate on their behalf.”

Home Visitor, Tyler Briscoe: “A child will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, homes happier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for. As a home visitor we strive to provide for our families to ensure they are reaching beyond their goals. Taking on this role has allowed me to see families in all different aspects and help them achieve their set goals for both their children and families. Home visiting allows us to ensure children are reaching their milestones and ensuring that there is no child left behind.”

Home Visiting Participant, Iyetta Black: “Home visiting is a big help. My home visitor has helped me and my child develop in a lot of ways, like bonding with my children. Also, giving me Pampers if needed and my child has learned a lot of new words. My child has learned how to do more things on his own. I really appreciate them and everything they have taught me.” 

The Primo Center is the largest provider of services and shelter for families and children experiencing homelessness in Chicago. The Center begins home visiting in the shelter and supports families until their child enters kindergarten. The Primo Center delivers evidence-based home visiting services through the Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum designed to empower the parent to be their child’s first educator and advocate. Many home visitors at the Primo Center are formerly homeless mothers who now serve as parent educators, case managers, and clinicians.

Learn more about HRSA’s Home Visiting program.

Learn more about Home Visiting in Illinois (PDF - 225 KB).

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