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Home visit program seems like wise use of federal funds

October 29, 2013
The Mining Journal

An announcement this week that the state of Michigan is in line to receive an infusion of money aimed at, among other things, reducing infant mortality, seems like a wise use of federal dollars.

According to The Associated Press, Michigan will receive $14.4 million from the Department of Health and Human Services Michigan Department of Community Health's Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Those funds funds follow a more modest $32 million federal stipend for the same program last year.

"This expansion grant is Michigan's opportunity to further support prevention-focused home visiting in a number of at-risk Michigan communities," James K. Haveman, MDCH director, said in a written statement included in AP's coverage of the announcement. "Expanding Michigan's home visiting efforts is one of the key strategies identified in the effort to reduce our infant mortality rates."

As AP reported, the Home Visiting Program is designed to promote maternal, infant and early childhood health, development, and safety, school readiness and strong parent-child relationships. Home visiting matches trained professionals with families to provide support and information during pregnancy and throughout a child's early years, according to the state agency. Quality home visiting has been shown to lead to fewer children in social welfare programs, juvenile corrections, or mental health systems, as well as a reduction in infant mortality. Home visiting helps parents learn why maternal health before, during and after pregnancy is important, and can help parents learn how to care for an infant and build strong, healthy relationships with their children

Over the years, The Mining Journal has been very circumspect when considering government initiatives that look more like make work programs for bureaucrats than the wise use of tax monies. That said, this looks to us like a program that will actually accomplish some good at a reasonable expenditure of public funds.



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