Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) America’s Digital Advocacy Day is today, April 27th! YOU can participate by reaching out to your members of Congress and using your voice to urge them to support children and families across Colorado and nationwide.

How can I get involved?

This Digital Advocacy Day, please join Illuminate Colorado, and our partners across the country, in contacting lawmakers to urge them to act now to reauthorize and increase funding for the bipartisan Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

As the Colorado chapter of PCA and a member of our state’s Home Visiting Investment Task Force, Illuminate Colorado enthusiastically supports the importance of maintaining and bolstering the infrastructure necessary to offer high-quality home visiting services to families across our state.

Get involved by emailing, tweeting, posting on social media, and/or calling your senators and representatives. For more resources, such as key messages, tweets, and graphics to help you communicate with your representative easily and effectively, please visit preventchildabuse.org/2022-digital-advocacy-day or see the resources below. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PCA America policy team at pcaapolicyteam@preventchildabuse.org.

Send an Email in Two Easy Clicks

Your members of Congress need to hear from you! We have the extraordinary opportunity to educate lawmakers about evidence-based home visiting programs and its positive impact on families and children.

Background Information

The MIECHV program is a federal grant to states, territories, and Tribes that supports evidence-based home visiting for families and children from the prenatal period through the time that children start kindergarten. While the program’s ability to positively impact maternal and child health outcomes–including by reducing child maltreatment, improving positive parenting practices, and improving family economic self-sufficiencyis clear, the current funding level limits its ability to reach the children and families who need it most. Only 150,000 of the 18 million current and expectant parents who could benefit from the program receive services.

In our state in particular, while some level of home visiting services is available in all counties, according to the Child Fatality Prevention System’s 2020 Annual Legislative Report, “Not a single county in Colorado… has home visiting programs to meet the overall needs of families in the county.”

To bring the power of home visiting to more families and promote improved maternal health outcomes, we need Congress to reauthorize and increase funding. Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress: 

  • Increase MIECHV funding over the next five years to reach more families and better support the workforce
  • Double the tribal set-aside within MIECHV from 3% to 6%
  • Continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an option for service delivery

Key Messages
  • The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program is a federal grant to states, territories and Tribes that supports evidence-based home visiting for families and children from prenatal period through kindergarten entry. The law that authorizes MIECHV will expire in September 2022.
  • Home visiting programs are a prevention strategy used to support pregnant moms and new parents as they work through the challenges of raising babies and young children.
  • Home visiting programs help new and expectant parents develop the skills and confidence it takes to raise healthy families.
  • Home visiting prevents adversity and builds resilience by being there during a child’s most critical years of development (prenatal to age five).
  • Evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, prevent and reduce the recurrence of child maltreatment, promote healthy child development, and enhance family well-being. Among many other positive outcomes, families who participate in HFA and other home visiting programs have shown reductions in the number of low-birthweight babies, improved school readiness for children, and increased economic self-sufficiency.
  • For nearly 30 years, HFA has worked toward a singular vision: all children receive nurturing care from their family that leads to a healthy, long, and successful life. All families can benefit from support during pregnancy and throughout early childhood owing to the enormous life transitions and rapid growth occurring during this time.
  • HFA serves nearly 70,000 families across the United States each year, with nearly 600 sites in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and five US territories. Approximately 30% of HFA families served are supported through MIECHV funding.
  • Local implementation of HFA is funded through a variety of mechanisms, including federal funds such as MIECHV, state funds (including Medicaid and TANF) and local and private funding.
Sample Tweets
  • Invest in our children’s future, reauthorize home visiting #MIECHV funding. Make #GreatChildhoods happen all year long! @PCAAmerica @HFAatPCA
  • Today, April 27th, is our third annual Digital Advocacy Day. You can help us grow online word-of-mouth and show your support for policies and programs that support all children and families with a few simple steps. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3IS3aj7 #GrowingBetterTogether
Find Your Members of Congress
What important dates should I be aware of?

Digital Advocacy Day is April 27th. Use the resources on this page to contact your elected officials and spread the word about policy changes that’s vital to the well-being of children and their families.

The law that authorizes MIECHV will expire in September 2022. The House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over MIECHV will begin to hold hearings in the spring and into the summer in preparation for the reauthorization of MIECHV.

What do I need to know about the difference between education, advocacy, and lobbying?

Advocacy or Education is public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Lobbying is seeking to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue or a specific ask such as supporting la piece of legislation.​

There are many avenues of advocacy that nonprofits can engage in that do not constitute lobbying. ​Advocacy happens in many different ways, but at its core it’s about raising awareness, building and leveraging relationships, and educating others around the issues and policies that matter to you. There are varying degrees in which an HFA site, PCA chapter, or nonprofit organization, can engage in advocacy that do not cross into lobbying. Advocacy can include such activities as:

  • Educating and informing lawmakers
  • Helping to shape state laws and budgets
  • Making your voice(s) heard about important issues that affect our daily lives
  • Helping policymakers find solutions to problems
  • Providing critical information for adoption or rejection of introduced legislation
  • Urging the public to contact policy makers to advocate for adoption or rejection of legislation

On the other end of the spectrum are lobbying activities. Key lobbying activities include activities in direct support or opposition to a specific piece of proposed legislation. While nonprofits can engage in some lobbying, the IRS has strict rules regarding the percentage of a nonprofit’s budget that can go toward lobbying activities. It’s recommended that any agency follow the rules and guidelines as set around lobbying and advocacy when engaging with lawmakers.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PCA America policy team at pcaapolicyteam@preventchildabuse.org.

To bring the power of home visiting to more families and promote improved maternal health outcomes, we need Congress to reauthorize and increase funding. The law that authorizes the MIECHV program will expire in September 2022, so we need your voice now more than ever.

 Specifically, we’re requesting that Congress: 

    • Increase MIECHV funding over the next five years to reach more families and better support the workforce
    • Double the tribal set-aside within MIECHV from 3% to 6%
    • Continue to allow virtual home visiting with model fidelity as an option for service delivery

This crucial investment in our children and families will support resources at the state and community level that reduce challenges and stressors on parents. Therefore, we have the extraordinary opportunity to educate lawmakers about evidence-based home visiting programs such as Healthy Families America, spread the word about vital policy change, and encourage action on issues that increase positive childhood experiences and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Remember – advocate for children and families where you live. Make your voice heard by contacting your elected officials today, April 27th. Together, we can prevent childhood abuse and ensure families have what they need to thrive.

In October 2018 I experienced every parents worst nightmare: my three and a half year-old son passed away. After that tragedy, I was offered a whirlwind of supportive services, counseling, classes, family and friends coming to offer support. Every single one played a part in my healing process. What I found most life-altering was my home visiting program.

Alexa Chenoweth

Review the 2022 Policy Agenda

The Illuminate Colorado 2022 Policy Agenda highlights policies that build one or more protective factors in Colorado. Download the full Policy Agenda to learn more.

Bill Tracker

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

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