PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 04, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Receives $9.4 Million Federal Grant to Strengthen and Expand Home Visiting Services for Women and Families

TRENTON, NJ -  New Jersey will receive more than $9.4 million federal grant to expand home visitation services to help at risk families with an array of health and social services, the commissioners of Children and Families and the Department of Health and Senior Services  announced today.

The $9.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will support an expansion of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program in the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

In announcing the funding, U.S. HHS Secretary Sebelius said the grants were awarded to 10 states that "demonstrated a commitment to operating successful early childhood systems for pregnant women, parents, caregivers and children from birth to eight years of age." Oversight and implementation of the MIECHV grant in New Jersey is a collaborative effort between the two Departments. New Jersey received the largest grant.

The grant funding will allow New Jersey to expand its home visitation programs for perinatal screenings and risk assessments to promote earlier identification and coordination of services for families those who reside in at-risk communities. Currently, funding is provided to 35 evidence-based home visitation programs in New Jersey through DCF.

"New Jersey's Home Visiting Program has been proven to improve maternal and child health and through this investment in funding more families will have access to health screenings, education and counseling-the tools they need to succeed," said New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "Through this program, the Department of Health and Senior Services along with its sister agencies, are giving children a healthy start and building stronger families, which will ultimately lead to healthier communities in our state."

Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake said DCF will expand its current network of nationally recognized, evidence-based home visiting models that strengthen families by providing individualized support to pregnant women, parents and/or other caregivers of families with children from birth to age 5. New Jersey's current home visiting models include Healthy Families, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, Home Instruction to Parents of Preschool Youngsters and Early Head Start - Home-Based Option.

"These models promote infant/child health and development, nurture positive parent-child relationships, facilitate parent resilience, build social/community connections, and provide linkages to needed resources and supports," Blake said. "They have been shown to improve maternal and child health, family functioning and stability, child and family well-being, and prevent child abuse and neglect."

Blake said the home visiting program currently serves approximately 3,000 New Jersey families. The additional grant funds will expand home visiting programs in all 21 counties and service up to 5,000 families.

For more information on the Department of Health and Senior Services or the Department of Children and Families, visit www.state.nj.us.