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Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program

The MIECHV Program helps pregnant people and parents of young children improve health and well-being for themselves and their families. The Program does this by partnering trained home visitors with families to set and achieve goals. This work is part of our Early Childhood Systems programming.

How does the Home Visiting Program help families?

Home visitors and families develop strong relationships and trust. They meet regularly to address families’ needs.

The Program aims to:

  • Improve the overall health of mothers and children
  • Get children ready to succeed in school
  • Improve families’ economic well-being
  • Connect families to other resources in their community (for example WIC, Medicaid, employment and educational resources, housing support, parenting support classes, and resources on how to stop smoking)

The Program works to prevent:

  • Child injuries, abuse, and neglect
  • Crime and domestic violence

What happens through home visiting?

Home visitors:

  • Support healthy pregnancy habits
  • Give advice on things like breastfeeding, making sure babies sleep safely, avoiding accidents with children, and eating well
  • Show parents how to be positive and supportive with their children by reading, playing, and praising good behavior
  • Encourage talking to babies and teaching them things from a young age
  • Work with parents to plan for the future, continue their education, and find jobs and childcare
  • Connect families to other services and resources in their community

How does the Program work?

Watch our video that explains this work.

HRSA and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) fund states, jurisdictions, and tribes to develop and conduct home visiting programs. We provide funds to states and jurisdictions. ACF provides funds to tribes.

These programs must be based on evidence showing that they can meet the needs of families.

How do you ensure these programs work?

We use the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) review. ACF reviews home visiting program models to ensure they meet families’ needs.

There are 24 home visiting models that meet HomVEE and other eligibility criteria. States, jurisdictions, and tribes can select the best models for their communities.

How do you know how awardees are doing?

Awardees must report on how their program performs. The law requires them to do this across six benchmark areas, which include 19 performance measures (PDF - 137 KB). They must show that they’ve improved in at least four of the six areas.

Do you offer to help awardees?

Yes. We want our awardees to succeed. Our program officers share their expertise to help improve the quality of the programs.

How is Home Visiting different from the Healthy Start program?

The Home Visiting Program and the Healthy Start program both reach pregnant women and families. But they’re different in terms of both funding and approach.

Funding differences

The Home Visiting Program awards grants to 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories to create state-wide networks that support and carry out HHS-approved evidence-based home visiting models.

Healthy Start provides direct funding to local entities. Healthy Start awardees serve communities in which babies die more often than the national average.

The 2023 funding increase for Home Visiting Program is the result of a five-year, bipartisan reauthorization of the Program by Congress. As such, this reauthorization further defines how the Home Visiting Program differs from Healthy Start.

Program differences

While both programs play a vital role in improving maternal and child health, they do so in distinct ways.

The Home Visiting Program:

  • Focuses on early childhood development, especially:
    • Preventing child abuse and neglect
    • Promoting positive parenting
    • Supporting school readiness
  • Allows states to choose evidence-based models that fit their community’s needs

The Healthy Start program:

  • Focuses on reducing infant deaths
  • Provides flexibility to tailor services to meet specific family and community needs, such as:
    • Providing both clinical and non-clinical health services
    • Offering well-woman, maternity care, and doula services
    • Helping with transportation and housing needs

And each program emphasizes different parts of the life course:

  • The Healthy Start program focuses on the periods before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • While some Home Visiting models focus on the time before birth, many models serve families throughout the early childhood period up until kindergarten.

Additional information

Past funding awards for home visiting programs

Resources for our awardees

*Note: Persons using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, please email Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath or call 301-443-2524.

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