In a victory for babies and their families, the 2018-19 California State Budget included a first-ever statewide investment in voluntary, evidence-based home visiting.
The newly-created CalWORKS Home Visiting Initiative will be funded from Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 through FY2022 by a $158.5 million set aside of California Work Opportunity & Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKs) funding, the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. After FY2022, funding will be subject to annual appropriation. Distinct from the California Home Visiting Program, which is funded through the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, this new initiative will expand access at the local level.
Governor Brown initially proposed the initiative as a three-year pilot program, limited to first-time parents under the age of 25 participating in CalWORKs. However, thanks to legislative leadership, the final budget deal made the program permanent, incorporated flexibility for counties to serve families beyond first-time parents, and built in a $500 allowance for participating families to purchase materials like car seats, cribs, and babyproofing supplies as needed. The CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative will also allow any county to opt in via application, select the best home visiting models to meet local needs, and be structured to promote integration between home visiting programs and county human services departments. County programs will be managed by human services or public health departments.