Millions Earmarked for Idaho Family Home Visits

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Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter doesn't want any part of it. The entire Idaho Congressional delegation voted against it. Republican state legislators want to sue the federal government over it. But the new Health Care Law will forward millions to Idaho to help at risk families.

Friday, the U.S. Health and Human Services announced $88 million in grants to support home-visiting programs focused on improving the well-being of families with young children. Through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, nurses and social workers make house calls, evaluating families' circumstances, and connect families to health-care or developmental services for children, as well as nutrition assistance.

Roger Sherman, executive director of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, told Citydesk that nearly $800,000 is earmarked for Idaho in fiscal year 2010, with $500,000 immediately available. The amount is expected to grow to more than $3 million per year by the fourth year of the program.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said there is strong research evidence that the programs can improve outcomes for children and families while yielding Medicaid savings by reducing preterm births and the need for emergency room visits.