California legislators are looking at a new bill that would fund a program designed to help low-income mothers after their babies are born, providing support for both mom and baby.
Study after study supports postpartum home visiting programs like early childhood services organization First 5 LA’s Welcome Baby Program. The program offers parents prenatal support, hospital visits when the baby is born and home visits for the first nine months of the baby’s life. The program operates in 14 hospitals in Los Angeles and is free of charge, regardless of income.
Now, the CalWORKS Baby Wellness and Family Support Home Visiting Program is asking the California legislature to approve $100 million to offer visits from nurses or social workers to new mothers who are low income.
Research has shown that consistent postpartum home visits can help prevent child abuse and neglect, as well as improve the health of mother and baby after birth. Research also has shown that home visits can support positive parenting strategies and help children with school readiness.
In an article by KPCC, First 5 LA Program Officer, Diana Careaga, says that home visits are important for giving confidence to new moms who are often stressed-out trying to do right by their babies, especially if they are struggling financially. Home visitors can offer those new moms resources that support the parent-child relationship and help with bonding and attachment between mother and baby.
The bill before California representatives would give up to 12,000 low-income California families accessibility to home visits from trained clinicians. Barbara Andrade Dubransky, First 5 LA’s Director of Family Supports, says that the home visits will save taxpayers money in the long-term because the visits may offer assistance that prevents families from using the child welfare systems or public social services, which cost the state huge amounts.
According to Dubransky, early intervention with the home visits can minimize public assistance costs to the state significantly.
The bill is in California’s Assembly Appropriations Committee, where cost for the program is being analyzed. The vote to pass the bill well be held on May 26th.
Photo: First 5 LA