From the News

Annual Hill visit day a success!

Annual Hill visit day a success!

On March 1, a delegation of more than 50 Parents as Teachers national Board members, national center staff, PAT state leaders and office staff, program supervisors and families representing home visiting work in 17 states gathered virtually to meet with members of Congress. The national board has been hosting its spring board meeting in Washington, DC for almost 10 years now with the express purpose of interacting with Congressional staff and members on the Hill. For the past 5 years, state office leaders and staff have been invited to attend as well.

This year, in the wake of the hugely successful reauthorization of the federal home visiting program – the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program – the focus of the meetings was to educate lawmakers and staff on the 5-year reauthorization, share the merits and impact of the Parents as Teachers model, and build relationships. MIECHV will double in funding over the next 5 years to a total of $800 million annually, the tribal set-aside has been doubled to 6%, and virtual services will remain an allowable delivery mechanism with family choice.

The last in person board meeting in DC was in March 2020, days prior to the country shutting down to fight the COVID pandemic. Instead of on-ground meetings, we have conducted virtual ‘fly-ins’ for the past 3 years, as well as virtual Hill staff briefings on maternal mortality and on home visiting as a health equity accelerator. This year, the virtual visits were preceded by a briefing to the board and state leadrs on the current Federal policy landscape in the new Congress.

Virtual visits have had the extra benefit of including attendance by more state offices and for several of them to include program supervisors and families in the visits. This year, we were able to meet with staff in 56 offices. In many cases, staff were new to the office and unfamiliar with MIECHV or Parents as Teachers, providing great teaching moments.

Attendees walked away energized by a generally positive bipartisan reception—and many with requests for in-district site visits. This is a critical piece of the groundwork required for expanded MIECHV implementation and we’re eager to continue building these relationships and advocacy muscles.

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