Proposed Budget Eliminates Home Visiting
Did you know that the proposed biennial state budget eliminates all funding for home visiting (Maine Families/Parents as Teachers? The elimination of funding is on page 271 of the budget; but it is hidden in a generalized cut to the Bureau of Health’s Fund for Health Maine budget. The Fund for Healthy Maine (“tobacco funds”) is the only source of revenue for the home visitation program so this cut -- not a reduction -- eliminates the program.
This evidence-based early childhood program has been in Maine for over 15 years. It has been funded to serve families statewide through the Fund for Healthy Maine since 2000. Maine has built and invested in an incredible well-trained workforce and infrastructure. This investment will be lost if the elimination of the program happens. Even if the state were to try to resurrect the program in better times, the cost to rebuild the system would be enormous.
In our area, Community Concepts operates the program throughout Oxford County. Home visitation services is currently providing services to over 150 vulnerable families. Six home visitation staff would be unemployed, representing $141,000 in wages that would be lost to our local economy.
Home visiting has multiple positive outcomes for children and their families related to school readiness, reducing the risk for child abuse and neglect and supporting the physical and emotional health of our children. Many of the children who are receiving home visitation services have current child welfare concerns and Child Welfare has asked the home visitation program to be involved.
Family Service Director, Community Concepts, Inc.