News release: Five greater Minnesota areas awarded family home visiting grants

News Release
December 12, 2017

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Five greater Minnesota areas awarded family home visiting grants

Hundreds of children in greater Minnesota have a better chance at health in 2018 and beyond thanks to a new series of grants from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

MDH recently awarded $4.87 million in additional family home visiting funds to 19 counties and two tribal nations in greater Minnesota. The additional funding will allow the communities to build on existing family home visiting programs, serving an additional 300 families.

The grants were made possible because the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton increased funding for family home visiting during the 2017 legislative session. The funding increase was about $6 million per year in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and about $16.5 million per year increase in each year of fiscal years 2020 and 2021. This bipartisan investment in evidence-based home visiting services was a recognition that programs of this kind generate significant health benefits for participants and significant savings for communities through lower social services costs down the road.

Family home visiting programs serve at-risk families such as first-time moms, parents with high risk or high needs, and families facing challenges of mental illness, domestic abuse, or substance abuse. Through home visiting programs, a nurse or other trained professional provides practical health and parenting support to parents and pregnant women during ongoing home visits until the child is 2 to 3 years old.

National research has shown that family home visiting programs result in improved health during pregnancy, fewer childhood injuries and improved school readiness. These programs also have also had a demonstrated impact on reducing child emergency room visits and the number of months a family is on welfare. There is a range of $2.88 to $5.70 return on every dollar spent to serve high-risk families through Nurse-Family Partnership, according to an analysis by the RAND Corporation.

“Minnesota has made an important investment in health of our children by making home visiting more available to Minnesota families,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “Home visiting has been shown to help kids and families get off to a healthy start that positively influences them throughout their lives.”

The home-visiting grant recipients include:

  • Mower County received a $393,089 grant to continue their Healthy Families America home visiting program and serve 30 families. Their partners include Mayo Clinic Health Systems‐Austin, Mower County WIC program, Mower County Social Services, the local school district and Early Head Start. 
  • North Country (Lake of the Woods, Clearwater, Hubbard Counties), Beltrami County, Quin County (Kittson, Roseau, Marshall, Pennington, and Red Lake Counties) and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe received a $1.6 million grant to partner on providing services to an additional 100 families. Through this collaboration they will be able to better meet the needs of the American Indian population in their region. The partners will be expanding Family Spirit (an evidence-based family home visiting model, which builds on cultural strengths) to both the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Clearwater County, as well as extending Healthy Families America home visiting to their region.
  • Supporting Hands Nurse-Family Partnership received a grant of $745,116 to serve eligible women and children in a 20-county area in west-central and southwest Minnesota. By teaming up, these counties can offer home visiting services they could not implement on their own. With the new state funding, the partnership will serve an additional 41 families residing in six of the region’s highest-risk counties: Big Stone, Chippewa, Pope, Swift, Stevens, and Traverse.  
  • Carlton and St. Louis counties received a $745,802 grant to serve an additional 55 families through the Nurse Family Partnership program and to continue providing high-quality home visiting to pregnant and parenting moms in their communities.
  • The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Pine County, and Mille Lacs County received $1,347,225 to increase home visiting services to the American Indian population in their regions, including enhancing outreach and improving coordination between their agencies. They will be implementing Healthy Families America and Family Spirit in their communities. The funding allows for continued services and support for an additional 75 families.


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications