home visiting

DC Action supports maintaining level funding in the FY 2021 budget for DC Health and the Department of Behavioral Health’s (DBH) critical early childhood health, mental health, and home visiting programs at this important time in the District’s history. While the country navigates the health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and reaches a key moment of reckoning with our country’s racist history, policies, and structures, we must ensure that family supports retain the funding that allows them to serve families. 

DC Action chairs the Home Visiting Council with other advocates, community-based providers, and agency leaders. This body works to strengthen home visiting in the District by building a cross-sector network of support for programs, advocating for resources and funding for their stability and growth, and collaborating to address system-wide challenges to the implementation of home visiting services. We are grateful for CFSA’s active participation on the Home Visiting Council. The agency brings valuable insights and contributes to ongoing work to ensure that DC families can connect to home visiting services. 

The stress of parenting through a public health crisis is universal – home visiting family support workers know this well. Children are upset that their routines have been disrupted – they can’t see their friends and teachers or even go to the playground. Meanwhile, parents are struggling with weightier worries about losing jobs, making rent, and buying food, not to mention trying to keep the family healthy. Some of these concerns are new, others are on-going, exacerbated by the instability wrought by the public health emergency. This moment makes it clear: more than ever, we must continue funding programs like home visiting that support families of young children.

This is an important time for DC’s young children, pregnant women and their families. DC is growing rapidly, and more and more young children are calling DC home: currently, 45,000 children under age five live in the District. In 2016, the District saw 9,858 births across the city. With such a large and growing population of children, it is crucial that DC is an excellent place to parent and a great place to be a kid. The research is clear that children reach significant developmental milestones between birth and age 5 and that those milestones are influenced dramatically by a family’s access to resources. In a city where almost 20% of children under 5 live below the poverty level, home visiting and other resources within a coordinated system of care and support are especially relevant to reducing disparities.