Babies deserve healthy starts. Add home visits to Biden families plan.

Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Amaya Diana

President Joe Biden just released his American Families Plan focused on strengthening the country’s social safety net and investing in our children. 

Surprisingly, the $1.8 trillion plan seems to be missing one essential component: scaling up successful, evidence-based and thus far dreadfully underfunded early childhood interventions for low-income families. In particular, it should include programs that provide regular home visits, such as nurse-family partnerships, for low-income families beginning at birth and going up to one or two years of age.

Having a baby is one of the most stressful events in life for even the most privileged parents. For those with limited income and social supports, it can be financially and emotionally taxing. A relationship with a knowledgeable, supportive coach through pregnancy and infancy should not just be a cushy luxury for well-off mothers who can afford doulas. As an entitlement for low-income parents, it would be a transformative public policy with a high return on investment.