January 27, 2019

ALERT! MINNESOTA HOME VISITS:

AN OPPORTUNITY TO HERD OUR CHILDREN

Minnesota HF 1 and HF30

Published by MACC January 27, 2019

MACC Alert full article

Hello! We’re from the Government! We’re here to help!! Or so the saying goes…

At what point will government understand that we really don’t want them generally poking around, advising us how to parent and herding our kids towards a one-size fits all?

If you haven’t read any of the federal education grant bills (or health, for that matter), you may be in for a rude awakening. So… grab a cup of coffee before the snow storm arrives!

The first bill dropped this session and important for that reason alone, HF 1 consists of 5 or 6 existing statutes combined in order to introduce new language and create an act: Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, seeking to expand, incentivize and implement governmental prenatal care, home visiting, early leaning (birth to 3) and care and child care availability.

The state of Minnesota (and a host of non-profits, foundations, universities and corporations who help with dissemination or funding) eventually want your children from birth to 3 in some sort of childcare along with home visits prenatally until your child is three years old and then passed to the Pre-K program. This early ed/home visit system has been coming for at least 20 years. All programs in this system will be free. That’s the carrot!

For the sake of this article, we’ll be looking into Article 2 first. Entire Bill

Article 2: Home Visiting for Pregnant Women and Families with Young Children, is ready to award grants to “community health boards, nonprofit organizations and tribal nations” to either start or expand home visiting programs.

Specifically, the grants must be used “to start up or expand evidenced-based home visiting programs OR programs that are culturally or ethnically targeted to the county, reservation or region of operation.”

Home visits for whom?

• Families with young children or pregnant women who are high risk and have high needs (OR)
• Parents who have a history of mental illness, domestic abuse or substance abuse (OR)
• First-time mothers, (OR)
• Families eligible for medical assistance or federal nutrition program

Essentially, HF 1 would include home visiting for EVERYONE! Will there be marketing? You betcha!

Is it mandatory? 

Not yet but it seemingly always ends up that way! There’ll be marketing, that is, “evidenced-based research” to show that infants are better off with home visits (and free, full-day education from 1 to 3) and, of course, it’s FREE! While incentivizing and implementing, nonprofits, corporations, business interests and community groups will HERD parents into putting their children into home visits. Just like Free, Full-Day Kindergarten implementation a few years ago, we could see home visits affecting a large percentage of all early childhood daycare/preschool opportunities. Home visits are to become the norm. (Read about the implementation strategies of free, full-day K below.) But there’s more…

What else?

Additionally, under Article 2, Subdivision 1 (b) if grant monies are used for home visiting, the program MUST provide services prenatally until the child is three years of age.

All in all, the government home visiting program will be 2 years and 9 months! What sort of information will be disseminated in the home visits? This will depend on the grant requirements. Remember, federal money always comes with “strings.”

What are evidenced-based grants?

You may ask, “What is an evidenced-based grant, as described in Subd. 1 (1)?”

Well, wait!! We have new proposed legislation on evidence-based education grants, HF 125, just being heard in committee this week. It states, “To the extent practicable, the goals must be aligned to the Minnesota’s World Best Workforce and the federally required Every Student Succeeds Act accountability systems.” That’s a lot of Common Core right there (ESSA) in addition to requiring every school district to match up their budget with the state budget, line item by line item (MWBW.) Additionally, the bill gives grant application requirements, data collection expectations and reporting required by 180 days of the end of the grant period, December 2019.

(Evidenced-based grants and home visiting were part of the RttT-ELC and ESSA, that is why ESSA is referenced in the bill.) Evidenced-based means “science-based.” And if it’s science, no matter if the methodology is flawed, it’s “settled.”

Appropriations

Appropriations will double in 2021 and then quadruple in 2022.

Fiscal year 2020 = $23,000,000.
Fiscal year 2021 = $41,600,000.
Fiscal year 2022 and thereafter = $98,000,000.

In addition, we will likely have several grant sources like the Evidenced-Grant Education Grant. HF 1, Subdivision 2 (b) “The Commissioner [of Education] shall allocate at least 75% of the grant funds awarded each grant cycle to Evidenced-Based home visiting programs and up to 25% will be allocated to culturally and ethnically-targeted home visiting programs.”…