Desires to boost successful child and maternal health
By OW Staff
Assembly Member Dr. Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa) recently introduced AB 1057, sponsored by the County Health Executives Association of California (CHEAC), to boost the reach and impact of California’s Home Visiting Program (CHVP).
The program empowers families to overcome risks and barriers to positive maternal and child health outcomes by deploying public health professionals to reach pregnant people and new parents in communities with information, resources, and support.
AB 1057 proposes to address gaps which have become more apparent during the pandemic, especially for underserved communities, and boost the offerings and reach of home visits. For example, the bill would provide local health departments with the flexibility to embed mental health supports into home visiting to address clients’ mental health needs which have increased during the pandemic.
The legislation would also promote the use of additional models, providing flexibility to best reach the needs of communities traditionally marginalized with greater access to home visiting.
“As a doctor, I know that preventing disease is better than curing it. That’s the goal of home visiting - to reach pregnant people and new parents at the earliest opportunity to ensure birth parents and babies have the best chance to be healthy throughout their lives,” said Weber, who is chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Social Determinants of Health.
“AB 1057 strengthens California’s home visiting program to address social determinants of health, improve infant and child health and development, strengthen family functioning, and cultivate strong communities.”
Providing flexibility within the successful California Home Visiting Program will enable local public health home visiting staff to address a broader range of community needs that have grown since the onset of the pandemic, experts say.
“The California Home Visiting Program provides support and education to families to promote positive parenting and improve child health and development, but the needs of our clients have grown,” said Elsa M. Jimenez, CHEAC vice president and director of Monterey County Health Department.
“We look forward to working with the governor and state lawmakers to enhance the program and provide added flexibility to ensure it can address the longstanding structural drivers of health inequities that the pandemic has exacerbated.”
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