Congress fails to reauthorize health

Congress fails to reauthorize health

Congress failed to fund two programs affecting thousands of Oregon children and vulnerable families, missing aSept. 30 deadline.

The Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Act, known as MIECHV, serves nearly 1,000 Oregon families by providing weekly assistance to parentswho feel ill equipped to raise children. Servicesincludehome safety checks and guidance on how to interact with and encourage achild.

Thesevoluntary services often helpparents living in poverty, or who grew up in cycles of abuse and neglect.

To that end, Salem area law enforcement officialsmet with media Monday urgingrenewed funding for the programs because of their track record forcurbingcrime.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, commonly referred to as CHIP, helped more than140,000 children and more than 6,000 pregnant women in Oregonin 2016. It covers standard health benefits like dental screenings and immunizations for families who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage.

Nationwide, these programs benefit 9 million children and their families.

Both signed a letter in support of the home visiting act in June.

Home Visiting ActThe Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Act provides funding for programs nationwide that help parents learn to parent.

While interacting with and caring for a child may come easily to some, not all parents have the skills and resources they need, especially if they’ve grown up in abusive environments.

«Students who are abused and neglected are twice as likely to commit a crime by age 19 than similar children who have not experienced (these things) in the home,» said Polk County District Attorney AaronFelton. «I’ve always said if we have to choose between fighting crime and preventing crime, I’ll takepreventing crime every single time.»

Home visits are voluntary and help families better provide their children with safe, developmentally appropriate environments that allow them to succeed later in life. Officials saidThe effect of the program is less crime and better mental and physical health for the children.

«Home visiting programs . can help break negative cycles that start with abuse and neglect and end with ruined lives that span generations,» said Keizer Chief of Police John Teague.

Children’s Health InsuranceThe Children’s Health Insurance Program provides standard medical benefits, including dental screenings and immunizations, as well as mental health services.

The program was signed into law in 1997 and providesmatching funds to states forhealth coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage.

All states have expanded children’s coverage significantly through their programs, with nearly every state providing coverage for children up to at least 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, according to the program’s website.

In addition to basic health benefits, Salem Chief of Police Jerry Moore highlighted the connection betweenaccess to mental health therapies and improvements to public safety.

He said among previously incarcerated youth, family therapy cutsre arrests in half, and more extensivetherapy reducedviolent felony arrests by nearly three quarters.

One study of youth with serious emotional disturbances found almost half wound up inthe justice system, while another study found that these kids were roughly 13 times more likely to be arrested than children who didn’t suffer from serious emotional disorders, he said.

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