In early October, the United States House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion revised Heroes Act COVID relief bill. House leadership and the White House have been meeting to negotiate a compromise bill to go to the Senate. The Senate has not yet passed additional pandemic assistance.
The updated Heroes Act contains both legislative flexibilities and $100 million in emergency aid for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). The emergency flexibilities would be in place through January 2021, and the emergency funds, which would be counted in FY 2020, would have a two-year authorization. These funds could be used for training home visitors as well as providing tangible necessities that may be out of reach for families (technology, formula, diapers, etc.).
Parents as Teachers, in partnership with the Home Visiting Coalition, have been working since March to have these emergency flexibilities and funds included in a relief package and excited it finally has been. There’s a long way to go to the finish line, and the outlook for compromise this close to the election is not promising. Just as it took a lot of work to have MIECHV included in this package, it will take a lot of work to keep it in the package as negotiations proceed.
We all have a role to play in ensuring that home visiting is considered an essential service for families during the COVID-19 response and beyond. You can help today by watching and sharing the NEW home visiting coalition video featuring virtual home visiting.