District Home Visiting Programs to Get Boost Under New Bill
Posted on June 27, 2017 at 3:46 PM
Councilmember Nadeau introduces early childhood legislation to help kids thrive from birth
WASHINGTON – Today, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau introduced a bill to expand access to home visiting services run by the Department of Health after an Auditor’s report found the demand for the programs outstripped funding. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers Robert C. White, Jr., Anita Bonds, and Elissa Silverman and co-sponsored by Councilmember Charles Allen.
“We need to be doing more to help children get a strong start in life,” said Councilmember Nadeau. “Home visiting programs are an effective, evidence-based way to close the achievement gap and increase the health, education, public safety and welfare of young families.”
Currently, the Department of Health has a home visiting program which has struggled to meet all of the District’s needs and to maintain needed funding levels. In March of this year, the DC Auditor released a status report on home visiting in the District. The Auditor revealed several strengths and weaknesses with the District’s home visiting infrastructure. Among other issues, the Auditor pointed to insufficient funding for home visiting services based on the District’s needs and to the difficulty for home visiting services providers to find qualified, culturally competent staff.
Studies have shown that home visiting services are a strong method of improving certain health, education, and wellness benchmarks among recipient families. It is therefore crucial that the District maintain this system of service provision. One attractive option would be to use public-private partnerships between DOH and private philanthropic groups.
The bill instructs the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services to conduct a feasibility study on using the performance-based/pay-for-success contracting model to improve and expand home visiting services within DOH. DOH would then implement a 10-year pilot program to use pay-for-success contracts for home visiting services based on the results of the feasibility study. Further, DOH would be authorized to issue grants to improve the quality of home visiting services.
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