FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has announced a new federal grant of $7,548,849 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The funding will support the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program which is commonly referred to as Kentucky’s HANDS (Health Access Nurturing Development Services) program. HANDS is housed within the cabinet’s Department for Public Health (DPH).
“We are grateful to HRSA for supporting our ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of Kentucky’s children and families by awarding the state this much needed funding,” said Jeffrey Howard, Jr., M.D., commissioner of DPH. “These funds will allow Kentucky to continue to provide voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to women during pregnancy and to parents with young children up to kindergarten age.”
The HANDS program is offered in all 120 counties through local health departments and serves high-risk populations, tailoring its programs to meet the needs of communities within the state. The program provides assistance to overburdened parents during the prenatal period until the child’s third birthday. Outcomes of this home visitation program include decreased maternal complications in pregnancy, fewer premature deliveries and low birth weight babies, and decreased incidences of child abuse and neglect.
In FY 2017, Kentucky’s HANDS program served approximately 4,040 participants in 2,323 households with home visitors providing 55,588 home visits. Additionally, 81.7 percent of households served by the program were low income, 56.7 percent of households included someone who used tobacco products in the home, and 32.4 percent of households included someone with low student achievement. At the national level in 2017, Kentucky’s MIECHV program served more than 156,000 parents and children in 80,000 families and provided over 943,000 home visits.