In its Jan. 3rd piece, the Albuquerque Journal editorial board makes a strong argument for the value of home visiting, where highly trained professionals partner with families, providing personal coaching and education from pregnancy through the first years of their child’s life.
New Mexico needs not only to continue the First Born program and other home visiting programs, but also to expand in an effort to make families more stable and independent throughout the state.
As the Journal notes, the recently released New Mexico First Born program study shows that home visiting reduces health care costs. That stacks up with national figures showing a $6,000 return-on-investment per child served by home visiting.
You may be wondering why a businessman is invested in a program like home visiting. The impact on the finances of New Mexico is enormous.
Businesses statewide benefit if severely disadvantaged parents, often without support or good role models, have a trusted mentor to teach them how to care for their children and lead more productive and independent lives.
Research cited by the business leaders group, ReadyNation, shows that certain high-quality home visiting programs can benefit two generations – transforming both mothers’ and their children’s lives.
The typical home visiting participant in our state is Latina, in her early 20s and low-income. At-risk mothers who participate in home visiting learn how to further their education and get jobs, reducing their reliance on welfare. In addition, by reaching the children in these homes early, we provide a foundation for their later workforce success.
One study found that at-risk children who participated in home visits and early learning services were four times more likely to complete college and 42 percent more likely to be consistently employed at age 30. This means more New Mexicans are ready to enter the workforce and provide an increase in the pool of talent for business heads to utilize.
It is necessary that our home state choose not only to invest wisely, but to invest in the future of New Mexico and its developing workforce, by supporting independent families through home visiting. It simply makes sense.
Patrick Dee is managing director of the Private Client Group of U.S. Bank, New Mexico and a member of the ReadyNation business leaders group.