Washington - United States Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Robert Casey (D-PA) have introduced legislation to expand proven home visitation programs that provide care and information to families, help break the cycle of poverty and improve the health and well-being of low income children and families. The Evidence-Based Home Visitation Act would provide states and public and private entities with $2 billion over five years to establish or expand home visitation programs proven through rigorous testing. With health care reform in focus in Congress, the senators are working to ensure that home visitation programs are included in reform efforts. Theirs is the first legislation known to require that services meet rigorous scientific standards proving effectiveness.

Senator Menendez said: "American families look to Congress to enact sound policies that work and save money. Science and practice tell us that evidence-based home visitation improves the prenatal health, development, education and economic self-sufficiency of low-income children and families. This legislation will help transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in poverty so that they are healthy and productive. The time to act to improve their lives is now with what we know will work."

Senator Casey said: "I know first-hand the value of these services to help children and families lift themselves out of poverty. Low income families living in poverty are the greatest in need of these types of services, which can empower parents with the resources and knowledge to change their family's life course trajectory and help their children to reach their full potential. This legislation will make it possible for more needy families to benefit from high quality services that have been proven to make a difference."

The Evidence-Based Home Visitation Act would create an innovative, competitive grant program to promote a wide array of home visitation programs with the strongest evidence of effectiveness in producing multi-generational improvements in the lives of low-income children and families. The legislation would also fund and foster improvements in evidence-based programs that show significant promise of meeting the highest standards of effectiveness, but that do not currently meet the highest standards of effectiveness. This legislation is one of the only initiatives that incentivizes programs to continually improve their effectiveness. This legislation fulfills one of President Obama's core initiatives to promote the early health and development of children with proven programs designed to achieve results.

The Evidence-Based Home Visitation Act would provide critical funding for a variety of home visitation programs that have been proven effective and show significant promise of achieving results. Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have strong home visitation programs which have achieved success at breaking the cycle of poverty and improving the health and development of vulnerable families.

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