Funding Will Expand Free Home Visiting and Community Services to Strengthen and Support Children and Families Across New York State
Healthy Families New York Promotes and Enhances Prenatal Care, Maternal Health, Better Birth Outcomes, Parent-Child Bonding, Child Health and School Success
Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that $11 million in funding from the recently enacted State Budget is now available to expand and support the proven, evidence-based Healthy Families New York program—a preventive community outreach program that provides voluntary home visitation to expectant parents and families with infants.
“Healthy Families New York is a proven program that has helped strengthen families and enhance the well-being of children across New York,” Governor Hochul said. “It is paramount that we continue to make smart investments in evidence-based programs that provide direct support to children and families when they need it most. This funding will expand the proven Healthy Families New York program to every county, giving more young families the support they need to build healthy lives and help their children thrive.”
Run by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Healthy Families New York promotes optimal prenatal care, better birth outcomes and positive growth and development to improve parent-child bonding, maternal health, child health and school success. A request for proposals is out for $9 million to expand Healthy Families New York to every county in the state. An additional $2 million will sustain the technical assistance, training and data system necessary to support the new programs and maintain fidelity to the Healthy Families New York model.
A total of $9 million annually from 2022 to 2025 will be available to fund proposals to serve counties that do not yet have a Healthy Families New York program. The RFP expands not only the geographic coverage of Healthy Families New York, but also eligibility to families with children up to 24 months old at enrollment when referred by local departments of social services, up from the current maximum age of three months.
Healthy Families New York services include helping families access community resources and services, educating families on parenting and child development, connecting families with medical providers and assessing children for developmental delays. This component of Healthy Families New York aligns with the state’s Family First Prevention Plan to strengthen families and reduce the chance of children entering foster care.
This latest investment in Healthy Families New York is part of Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to supporting children and families, including a historic, $7 billion investment in child care in the enacted State Budget. The Budget increases the income eligibility threshold for child care subsidies to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($83,250 for a family of four)—extending eligibility to more than half of young children in New York. It also includes $343 million to stabilize child care providers hit hard financially during the pandemic, $50 million to establish a child care capital program, and $15.6 million to ensure that all SUNY and CUNY campuses house child care centers.
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, “The New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ priority is to bolster and support families and help those in greatest need before there is any need for child welfare programs to step in or when a family may be receiving preventive services. Through this RFP, even more families can access these vital services, which are culturally and linguistically competent and support our youngest families.”
NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said “From early intervention to preschool education, counties provide the services families need to support a healthy start for their children. We commend Governor Hochul and state leaders for recognizing and investing in the incredible potential that exists for the state to partner with county governments to bring these services, which are proven to dramatically improve outcomes for children and families, to every corner of our state.”
Center for Human Services Research at SUNY Albany Director Margaret Gullick said, “The Center for Human Services Research at SUNY Albany has been a proud partner in New York State’s children and family services and prevention efforts, including Healthy Families New York, since our inception. We are excited about this expansion of services and the opportunity for Center for Human Services Research to provide high-quality data system management and technical assistance, and conduct research and evaluations that will demonstrate the impacts of these funds and programs on the lives of New York State children.”
NYS Early Childhood Advisory Council Co-Chairs Patricia Persell and Sherry Cleary said, “Home visiting is a critical way to connect with families with very young children. Expanding Healthy Families is a smart investment in children, families and the future of New York.”
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy President and CEO Kate Breslin said, “For over 20 years Schuyler Center has successfully led an effort to bring attention and resources to maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting. Evidence-based home visiting holds the promise to help New York State move the needle on some of the most vexing problems confronting its children—including poverty, maltreatment, and educational and health disparities. We commend Governor Hochul for recognizing the importance of this investment in New York’s children and families.”
Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi said, “I am thrilled that $11 million was included in the budget to expand Healthy Families New York, a home visiting program that supports families by offering prenatal and early childhood services, including helping families access community resources and services, educating families on parenting and child development, connecting families with medical providers and assessing children for developmental delays. These early interventions are crucial to set our children and families up for success. Thank you to Commissioner Poole and everyone at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services for their swift action in utilizing these funds to get services to families right away.”
Targeted counties are Cayuga, Chautauqua, Columbia, Essex, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Lewis, Montgomery, Nassau, Onondaga, Putnam, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Tompkins, Warren, Washington and Wyoming.
Proposals are due for submission on or before June 3, 2022. The full RFP and additional information including the Bidder’s Notice are available here.