The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation has awarded a fully-funded grant to the Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance (MHVA), a pilot collaborative backed by Monadnock United Way’s signature early childhood initiative, Impact Monadnock.
The MHVA is composed of Home Healthcare Hospice & Community Services (HCS) Healthy Starts, The Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center, Rise for baby and family and The River Center Family and Community Resource Center. MUW’s Impact Monadnock provides professional support for the alliance.
Jill Morgan, MUW’s Impact Monadnock Program Director, said, “This award from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation significantly advances the goals of the Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance. As a result, we anticipate that over time, many more families in the Monadnock region will benefit from high-quality home visiting services to support optimal child development.”
The grant, for $51,100, will support the alliance members’ community outreach efforts by funding a shared outreach coordinator for their home visiting programs. The project aims to increase by 20 percent the number of families accessing MHVA home visiting services in the Monadnock region by June 2019. The goal is that nearly 500 families will be receiving services from one of the organizations that constitute the alliance by the summer of 2019.
According to a recent study, a third of New Hampshire children may be at risk of compromised development from birth due to low birth weight, low family resources or other difficult circumstances. Home visiting has been considered an effective form of early intervention.
For Monadnock families, home visiting services from MHVA agencies have ranged from speech therapy for children diagnosed with autism to breastfeeding assistance for moms with premature babies. One mother who has been receiving home visits for almost two years said the program has been an all-around “support system” for her as a parent.
The MHVA was born in early 2017. MUW, which has been moving toward a collective impact model, decided to pilot its own collaborative, thus convening regional home visiting programs to launch the MHVA. MUW is currently directly investing in the alliance with $200,000 over two years.
This grant is part of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s New Hampshire Tomorrow initiative, a 10-year, $100-million effort to increase opportunities for young people. As part of that effort, the Foundation is investing in programs that improve early childhood education and care.
"Home visiting is a proven strategy to support parents in their role as their child's ‘first teacher,’” said Christina Lachance, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's director of early childhood and family initiatives. “We are proud to partner with the Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance and Impact Monadnock as they increase quality and access to early childhood home visiting services throughout the region so all of our kids have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The community outreach coordinator funded by the grant will be shared across the four MHVA agencies and will work to establish strong relationships with referral partners and communicate with families to connect them to services.
Margaret Nelson, Executive Director of the River Center, said spreading the word to more families about the benefits of home visiting programs is so important.
“We want to make sure that people know that this is available, that they can get the support that they need when they need it, and understand that the program is customized to their personal family need,” Nelson said.
MHVA leaders have said there is a need to raise awareness about the benefits and eligibility for home visiting services, and reduce the stigma that currently exists around home visiting.
“Home visiting staff report that many clients are hesitant to receive home visiting services because they believe these services are only for parents and caregivers who are low-income, or who are considered uneducated, unstable or otherwise ‘unfit,’” Morgan said. “In fact, the various home visiting services offered in the Monadnock region can help all families with young children.”
For more information about the grant or the MHVA, contact MUW at 603-352-4209.