A renewed and expanded partnership between state agencies and home visiting programs will increase services to families receiving TANF funds.
SEATTLE – Increased funds will expand a home visiting pilot program established last year, providing about 350 families who receive state assistance access to home-based support that is proven to help children develop healthier and be better prepared for school.
In an effort to better coordinate services and reach more families, the pilot program was introduced in April 2015. It combines Washington state’s nationally recognized home visiting efforts and the state-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Partners in the pilot include Thrive Washington, Department of Early Learning, Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Commerce.
Home visiting programs are a proven strategy to reach children in the critical first years of life by supporting a stable home environment. Through home visits, families are provided support in strengthening parent-child bonds, developing more positive parenting practices and improving school readiness. Parents also receive the assistance they need to leave situations of domestic violence, go back to school or secure a job.
“Over the past year, we’ve witnessed the important role home visiting programs can have in helping us support and strengthen families,” said Babette Roberts, director of DSHS’ Community Services Division.
“This expanded partnership will allow us to help more low-income families create the stable and nurturing home environments they need to give their children the best start possible, move toward family self-sufficiency and reduce intergenerational poverty.”
The program brings together TANF funds and the state’s Home Visiting Services Account, which is managed by the Department of Early Learning and Thrive Washington. Established by the Legislature in 2010, the account uses combinations of federal, state and private dollars to provide home visiting services to about 2,300 families. Those dollars also support the professional development of home visitors and ensure programs get the results they promise.
“This partnership brings together key collaborators at the state and community level, enabling the best coordination of services and use of funding,” said Sam Whiting, president and CEO of Thrive Washington. “The success of this program is a true testament to the power of collaboration and the effectiveness of home visiting.”
“Working with DSHS not only allows us to reach more families, it allows us to reach more of the most vulnerable families,” said Ross Hunter, director of the Department of Early Learning. “The expansion of this program provides crucial opportunities to make a difference in the lives of children early on.”
The program’s expansion awards approximately $4 million in grants over two years to seven new community organizations as well as the original five organizations (listed below).
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Yakima (Yakima County)
- Children’s Home Society – Spokane (Spokane County)
- Denise Louie Education Center (King County)
- First Step Family Support Center (Clallam County)
- Friends of Youth (King County)
- Open Arms Perinatal Services (King County)
- Spokane Regional Health District (Spokane County)
- Community Youth Services (Thurston County)
- Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department (Grays Harbor County)
- Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (Pierce County)
- Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (Thurston County)
- Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (Yakima County)