President Barack Obama’s 2010 education budget request pours $8.6 billion over 10 years into proven home visiting programs—sending $117.8 million to states in the first year.
That’s a lot of money for programs unaccustomed to getting any federal help at all. It's a hopeful sign even knowing that this is only the president's request and still has to get through Congress's budget process.
It’s too soon to say how much Washington state would get under the federal program, but the money would be a welcome supplement to the state’s investment. In the legislative session that just wrapped up, the Children’s Alliance and the Home Visiting Coalition, among others, helped save 70 percent of the state funding for home visiting programs—funding that was threatened with elimination.
Home visiting programs are designed to help vulnerable families successfully navigate the first years of their children’s lives. Trained professionals visit families at their homes to offer support and advice that can range from a new game to play with a child to helping a parent write her resume. These voluntary programs have been shown to support young children’s development and reduce the risk of child abuse or neglect.
To read more about home visiting programs read our policy paper.
To read the stories of families who have gotten support through home visiting, read our earlier blog entries: Home visits help Tanner move ahead and Home visiting offers help when parents need it most.