Home visiting is a service provided within the home to parents, prenatally and/or with young children to support positive parenting, nurturing homes, and child development. Voluntary home-based programs, also called home visiting programs, match parents with trained professionals to provide information and support during pregnancy and through the child’s first years of life up to the age of six. Home visitors help parents learn how to care for their children, understand their child’s development, and care for themselves as they develop as a family.
Home visiting programs realize short-term and long term benefits for families and their communities. Home visiting programs can:
- Decrease the chance of having a low birthweight baby;
- Decrease rates of smoking during and after pregnancy;
- Increase length of time between subsequent pregnancies;
- Improve parent-child bonds;
- Reduce maternal stress and depression;
- Reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect;
- Increase parental employment by child’s fourth birthday: and
- Decrease welfare use among participants. (Adapted from the Pew Center on the States report: The Case for Home Visiting – Strong Families Start with a Solid Foundation published in May, 2010)
The Idaho Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is provided through local organizations, managed by the Division of Health in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and funded by a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Agency (HRSA): US Department of Health and Human Services.
The MIECHV program is designed to:
- Identify and provide comprehensive services to improve outcomes for families who reside in target communities;
- Improve coordination of services for target communities; and
- Strengthen and improve the activities carried out under the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.
The Idaho MIECHV program contracts with local organizations in Kootenai, Shoshone, Jerome, and Twin Falls counties to serve eligible women, infants, young children, and their families in the following evidence-based home visiting programs: