We know that maternal health plays a key role in the healthy development of a child at every stage. Mothers need to be healthy, have access to the care and services they need, and have the necessary resources to meet basic needs throughout their pregnancy, birth, and after welcoming a new child.
During the last legislative session, we saw steps taken to support mothers and ensure their needs are met. Senate Bill 178 extended Medicaid coverage for pregnant mothers to one year postpartum and the state budget included sustained investments in the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS).
HANDS is a home visiting program for any new or expectant parent in Kentucky that offers in-home services to help new families learn parenting skills, know what to expect as baby grows, ensure a safe environment, and provide resources and information to the family. This program does not have any income requirements and can be accessed through local health departments. HANDS is the state level home-visiting program that operates in Kentucky and is administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services but it relies on authorization from the federal government as part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program to fund part of the programming and provide guidance on implementation.
MIECHV reauthorization occurs every five years and the current programs are set to expire on September 30, 2022. Congress must pass a MIECHV reauthorization bill to ensure these programs continue to operate and families receive the services they need. UPDATE: The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee has passed a bipartisan reauthorization bill for the MIECHV program called the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022.
You can act now to help ensure MIECHV reauthorization by:
- Sharing information about this vital program and the importance for families using fact sheets from the Home Visiting Coalition
- Using the advocacy toolkit on home visiting from the Save the Children Action Network
- Contacting your members of Congress urging them to take action on MIECHV reauthorization now. Check out these scripts for calling and writing to your Congress representatives.
Supporting parents through every stage as a child grows is critical to healthy development and overall child well-being. Join Kentucky Youth Advocates is ensuring families across the Commonwealth have the support they need to thrive.
Updated September 21, 2022