Healthy Start includes targeted support services that address identified risks. The range of Healthy Start services available to pregnant women, infants and children up to age three include:
- Information, referral and ongoing care coordination and support to assure access to needed services,
- Psychosocial, nutritional and smoking cessation counseling,
- Childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting support and education, and
- Home visiting
How Healthy Start Works
Healthy Start Coalitions are non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the health of pregnant women and babies in a community.
The state’s 33 Coalitions are partnerships made up of local public and private medical professionals, hospitals, schools, charities, social services agencies, the United Way, the March of Dimes and individuals. Coalition members will work together to identify and resolve local health problems that affect pregnant women and their families.
The Healthy Start Program
The cornerstone of all Coalition programs is Healthy Start, which is a comprehensive program promoting optimal prenatal health and developmental outcomes for all pregnant women and babies in Florida.
The fundamental goals of the Healthy Start Program are to reduce infant mortality, reduce the number of low birth weight babies and improve health and developmental outcomes.
Each Coalition’s Board allocates funding to local agencies to provide Healthy Start services, which include:
- Care Coordination and Outreach
- Breastfeeding and Childbirth education
- Parenting education and support
- Smoking Cessation Assistance
- Nutritional services and counseling
- Psychosocial counseling
- Home Visits
- Many other services to address individual identified risks
Healthy Start Coalitions will also seek grants to help address relating issues. Please visit your local Healthy Start Coalition website to find out more on Healthy Start Services.
What is Healthy Start Screening?
Every doctor in the state of Florida is required to offer a Healthy Start Screening to all pregnant women and their babies. By initialing “Yes” to being screening on the Healthy Start Prenatal or Infant Risk Screen, women will know within minutes, if they or their baby have any individual health risks.
Healthy Start believes every woman deserves to know if she or her baby is at risk.
After completing the Healthy Start Screen, the doctor’s office or delivering facility will refer to Healthy Start based on answers provided on the Screening Form. Healthy Start and the doctor’s office continually communicate with each other to make sure the client has the best outcome possible.
Even if women do not feel Healthy Start is the right program for them, by still initialing “Yes” to bring screened their de-identified statistical information can be gathered to help improve health care for all of Florida’s moms and babies.