This week, the Legislature has spent many hours discussing our state budget and just how Nebraska will invest in kids and families over the next two years. One important decision was the overwhelming rejection of an amendment that would have decreased funding for home visiting programs. Voices for Children has long supported increasing our investment in this important prevention program which provides important education and resources to struggling families and young children. Here is our statement to senators opposing this cut:
May 8, 2013
To: All Senators
From: Sarah Forrest, Policy Coordinator – Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
Re: Opposition to AM 1297: Reducing Home Visiting Services
Our future prosperity and success as a state depend upon the investments we make today in our children and youth. Voices for Children in Nebraska opposes AM 1297 which removes an a needed investment in a proven program for young, vulnerable children and their families.
High quality home visiting programs have not only been shown to help children’s healthy, safe development, but also produce $5.70 in fiscal savings for every taxpayer dollar spent.
Voices for Children in Nebraska opposes AM 1297, because we believe our state must invest in our children’s most pressing needs:
- Preventing Child Maltreatment. The number of child victims of abuse and neglect has been rising for the past decade in Nebraska. In 2011, 1 of every 100 Nebraska children experienced some form of maltreatment.  Abuse and neglect have been linked with physical, social, and emotional challenges which are costly for children and society. Home visiting is a proven tool in preventing child maltreatment, which helps children’s healthy development and keeps vulnerable families out of our child welfare system.
- School Readiness. Early childhood is a crucial period in the brain’s development. By teaching parents how to help their children learn and develop, home visiting programs have been shown to improve children’s school readiness. Children benefitting from home visiting entered school better prepared to succeed and had higher test scores in 4th grade.
- Positive Long-term Outcomes for Families. A longitudinal study of families who had received home visiting services showed that they were better able to care for themselves and their children long after services were ended. Among families receiving services there was a substantial increase in employment and a reduction in the use of public benefit programs.
Tough times are the most important times to protect children. Only a small number of children and families who are at-risk currently receive home visiting services.
Nebraska still lags well behind the national average in investment in home visiting, and our children and families are paying the price. We urge you to oppose AM 1297.
 “The Case for Home Visiting.” The Pew Center on the States: May 2010. http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/initiatives_detail.aspx?initiativeID=52756.
 Kids Count in Nebraska 2012 Report.
 “The Case for Home Visiting.” Pew Center on the States.