Walorski, Thompson support House approval of bill to extend early childhood program

U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) helped win passage of legislation in the House on Tuesday that would reauthorize early childhood programs in at-risk communities.

The Increasing Opportunity Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act, H.R. 2824, would reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program that is set to expire at the end of September. The federal program uses voluntary home visits to support prenatal health, childhood development, financial independence, and to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Pete Sessions (R-TX), the chairman of the House Committee on Rules, also supported reauthorizing the evidence-based program that ensures taxpayer dollars are delivering results.

Walorski, who was an original cosponsor of the bill when it was introduced in June, praised the MIECHV program for helping more than 2,600 Indiana families in 2016.

“It works. We know this because of the statistics, but we hear it in the stories that they share with us,” Walorski, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said on the House floor. “Parents get the tools and the confidence they need to raise their children. This improves outcomes for their children in their early critical years and sets them on a better path as they grow up. And the program helps root out deeper issues like drug abuse and domestic violence that destroy families and hinder a child’s development.”

In addition to reauthorizing MIECHV through 2022 at current spending levels, the bill would require states to document the program’s impact on families, prioritize support for high-need communities, and strengthen state, local and private partnerships.

Thompson said he supported the reauthorization because the program helps ensure that all children get a fair start in life.

“Parents truly are their children’s first teachers and this program helps give families in high-risk communities the tools they need to provide better opportunities for their children. MIECHV prevents child abuse and neglect, reduces domestic violence and improves school readiness, among many more proven results,” Thompson said.

H.R. 2824 would offset MIECHV program costs by preventing those with outstanding arrest warrants for felony offenses and parole violations from receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

“For the past seven years this program has responsibly used taxpayer dollars to make a significant impact on some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Sessions said. “MIECHV has made it possible for local, state and federal officials to work together to help at-risk children and families while ensuring hard earned taxpayer dollars are used responsibly and effectively.”