NEW BRUNSWICK – Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, representing Healthy Families NJ and Parents as Teachers NJ, and the Nurse-Family Partnership® honored U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) as a champion of home visitation in support of America’s children earlier this month. Menendez was presented with a leadership award during a ceremony at his legislative office in Newark.
Menendez is one of several Members of Congress who were recognized for their leadership, and commitment to improving the lives of children by championing and enacting the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visitation Program. The federal program provides $1.5 billion in funding over five years for states, including New Jersey, to implement or expand evidence-based home visitation. By some estimates, New Jersey may gain $2 million this year because of this new legislation.
“Senator Menendez’s distinguished career has been guided by his commitment and dedication to improving the lives of children and families,” said Thomas R. Jenkins, Jr., NFP President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to recognize the Senator’s tireless work, particularly his efforts to bring home visitation to many more vulnerable families in New Jersey and across the country by supporting enactment of this legislation to provide federal funding for proven home visitation programs.”
“We want to congratulate Senator Menendez for his leadership in securing passage of new investments in home visiting programs within the health care reform bill. Given these tight economic times and the stresses faced by many New Jersey residents, we’re glad we have a senator who is concerned about how our families and children are doing,” said Rush Russell, executive director Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey. “Home visiting services are cost-effective and they help new parents get off to best possible start with their new children. They can also prevent the tragedy of child abuse from ever occurring.”
Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families and Parents as Teachers are three evidence-based home visitation models selected for inclusion in the New Jersey Department of Children and Families Home Visitation Initiative. Collectively, these programs serve families in all 21 New Jersey counties.
According to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, “New Jersey’s home visitors are highly trained paraprofessionals, nurses and other degreed professionals. Home visitors teach parents about proper nutrition and health, especially during pregnancy. They teach new parents to bond with their babies, to interact in developmentally appropriate ways, and to provide safe homes for their children. Home visitors also partner with parents to nurture children’s literacy skills and improve school readiness through early screening and detection of developmental delays. Perhaps most importantly, home visitors prevent the need for more costly intervention services — such as emergency healthcare and involvement with the child welfare and criminal justice systems — by connecting families with community resources early on.”
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