Pennsylvania just won a significant competitive grant from the federal government to provide early childhood support and counseling services for young mothers and families.
The program teaches parenting skills and helps new mothers and fathers cope with the responsibilities of parenting, provides home visits and addresses issues that can lead to abuse, even the deaths of babies and young children.
But you likely won't hear about it from the Corbett administration.
The $9 million award announced by the federal Health and Human Services agency on Tuesday comes to Pennsylvania courtesy of the Affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare."
The Corbett administration has made it known it is against the Affordable Care Act. As attorney general Tom Corbett joined other states which are suing the federal government to repeal the act.
Last month, the administration issued a rare press release from Department of Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander in which - on the occasion of the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act - he condemned the law, saying it would greatly expand Medicaid and cost Pennsylvania millions.
When asked if Pennsylvania would be returning the money since the administration oppose the law, DPW spokeswoman Carey Miller said, "No, it's the law."
"This administration does not agree with the act which is why we are part of the lawsuit, but until the Supreme Court makes their decision, we will continue to comply with the law," Miller said.
She did not respond to an inquiry about whether the administration would make public the federal grant as was traditionally done under Corbett's predecessor, Gov. Ed Rendell.
Theawards are part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) created by the Affordable Care Act. The nearly $72 million in funding announced Tuesday will allow states to expand or establish their home visiting program.
“Home visits from an experienced counselor can help provide skills and links to important services and early childhood education,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Pennsylvania was one of 10 states that won the award for demonstrating a commitment to operating successful early childhood systems for pregnant women, parents, caregivers and children from birth-to-eight years of age.
The awards also include states that are developing new home visiting programs to support families and improve the health and development of babies.
“These investments will give states a significant boost in their efforts to keep children safe and healthy,” said Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
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