What is Healthy Start?
Healthy Start is a community-based program for expectant and new mothers, infants through age three, and their families; it is designed to help participants have healthy pregnancies and babies through the following:
Individualized Care Coordination: Through our individualized case management approach we provide clinic, hospital and community-based care coordination for clients to help ensure they are linked to and access appropriate prenatal and pediatric health, as well as support, services.
In addition, Healthy Start provides comprehensive wrap-around, support services, including:
Breastfeeding Education and Support: This is available to clients through Healthy Start contracted certified lactation consultants.
Childbirth Education: Healthy Start clients receive these classes at no charge through a contract between the Coalition and selected providers.
Nutrition Counseling: This service is offered via Healthy Start contracted registered dietician providers in both English and Spanish.
Parenting Education: Individualized and group parenting education and support – including Coping with Crying and Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention – are offered by Healthy Start contracted providers in both English and Spanish.
Psychosocial Counseling: This service is offered to Healthy Start clients by referrals to contracted providers, in both English and Spanish. These services are provided by licensed mental health counselors to moms, individually, both parents, and/or the whole family, as appropriate, to help address stressors related to pregnancy or child birth and risk factors that can impact on positive pregnancy outcomes and optimal infant/child health and development.
Who is eligible to participate & how much does it cost?
All pregnant women regardless of their marital, economic or immigration status are eligible to participate in the Healthy Start program – which is free and voluntary – if they are at high risk for poor pregnancy outcomes. This includes postpartum women and their newborns up to age 3.
How to enroll in the program?
If you are pregnant or have a newborn, you can enroll in the program by completing a simple one-page questionnaire (Healthy Start Screen), which helps you and your medical providers determine if there any risk factors – including anything about your health, living environment, or daily activities – that might impact your baby’s health or development.
If you are pregnant, ask your doctor, nurse or midwife for a Healthy Start Prenatal Screen. If you already have a newborn baby, ask your medical provider or hospital staff for a Healthy Start Infant Screen.
The screening and program are free and answers are confidential; they will only be used to help you have the best possible care for your pregnancy and baby.
If you have questions about enrolling in the program, please contact Judy Driscoll at 941-708-6111 Ext. 103.
What is Healthy Start Screening?
All OB/GYNs and pediatricians in the state of Florida are required to offer a Healthy Start Screening to pregnant women and their babies. By initialing “Yes” on the Healthy Start Prenatal or Infant Risk Screen, you will know within minutes, if you or your baby has 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 you 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 you have the best outcome possible.
Even if you do not desire to use the Healthy Start services, completing the Healthy Start Screen will be helpful in gathering the data and funding necessary to improve the system of care for ALL moms and babies in Florida.