Michigan Creates Data-Driven Standards for Home Visiting
On August 1, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a measure that ensures that the state's investment in home visiting goes to proven, effective programs. The act, which was approved unanimously in the senate and by a bipartisan majority in the house, also mandates that home visiting programs track and measure outcomes such as fewer preterm births, reduction in child abuse, improved family self-sufficiency and increased school readiness.
The law requires that all of Michigan's funding for home visiting go to support evidence-based or promising programs, ensuring the state will receive solid returns on investment for taxpayers and strong results for participating families. The legislation sets standards and improves the oversight of programs while requiring collaboration and data sharing between the three departments that oversee home visiting services: the Department of Community Health, Department of Education and Department of Human Services.
Michigan's reforms are based on a policy framework developed by the Pew Home Visiting Campaign. Pew's nationwide survey of states' home visiting programs found that most lacked policies that link funding to program effectiveness and that few adequately monitored family outcomes.
The law has support from a broad coalition including policy makers, state agency staff, advocates, home visiting providers, and leaders in the health care and business communities. Crucial legislative leadership came from Representatives Lisa Posthumus Lyons, Ken Kurtz, Marilyn Lane, and Senators Judy Emmons and Vincent Gregory.