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Letter of Support for Evidence-based Home Visiting Programs

May 21, 2015

The Honorable Jimmy Gomez, Chair
Assembly Appropriations Committee
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Support for Evidence-based Home Visiting Programs - AB 50 (Mullin)

Dear Chairman Gomez,

I am writing to urge your support for AB 50, which would expand the availability of evidence-based home visiting programs to at-risk, low-incomes children and families across the state.

Voluntary home visiting programs have been researched for decades. Evidence-based programs have been found to reap long-term, positive effects for the children and parents enrolled. According to multiple peer-reviewed research articles, home visiting programs have shown positive impacts on children's cognitive development and behavior, higher grade point averages and achievement scores by age nine, and higher graduation rates from high school. Home visiting programs return to governments the investments made many times over, by reducing the rolls of public benefit programs, reducing parents’ involvement with the criminal justice system, and improving child health outcomes.

However, home visiting programs do not reach the vast majority of children living in poverty. Next Generation is releasing a data book today that provides county-by-county and statewide estimates of access to home visiting programs by low-income families. It makes clear that access is very low in most counties: just six percent of California children living in poverty have access to any kind of home visiting program today. There is great variability across the state in terms of access to these programs. In some counties, there is no home visiting program operating at all.

More than 20 states have established state plans and mechanisms to draw down federal Medicaid dollars to fund home visiting programs. California should join them, and distinguish itself as a state that values evidence-based programs that improve the economy and the health of its residents.

AB50 makes smart investments in programs that target those who need the services most. For these reasons, I urge your support of AB 50.

Sincerely,

Sarah Crow
Associate Director
Children & Families Program
Next Generation

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