Congress spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year on social programs. Many don’t work. Congress and the President have called for greater reliance on evidence-based programs. Thus far, however, only one major federal program conditions state access to formula-based federal funding on the use of evidence-based practices: the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. In this Article, I examine the extent to which this initial effort has succeeded and conclude that Congress has taken a promising first step, but attainment of its objective will require more demanding proof standards than those contained in the current Home Visiting Program. These weaknesses can be fixed. In this Article, I offer a roadmap for improving the program and for drafting a new generation of evidence-based federal programs that are much more likely to improve the lives of America’s children and families.
Congress has enacted several smaller, competitive funding programs, but no other program conditions the receipt of formula-based funding for states on the use of evidence-based intervention models.
Philip G. Peters, Jr., Funding for Programs That Work: Lessons from the Federal Home Visiting Program, 41 J. Legis. 224 (2015)