As a key component of the Healthy Families, the healthy start program provides intensive support information, and education to new and expectant parents in their homes. To determine who should receive these services, women in their first and second trimester of pregnancy and their families are evaluated to determine family strengths and the need for home visitation services.
Each participating family is then assigned a Family Support Worker, who assesses the family’s needs and develops a case plan tailored to those needs. This plan helps families develop problem-solving skills, effective parenting techniques and home management skills, and ensures that each child in the program receives well-baby care and age-appropriate immunizations. Parent education, child development screenings, and nutrition counseling are also provided. In addition, families are linked to available community services that meet their individual needs.
The program’s objectives are multifaceted. They include:
Healthier pregnancies, and reduced rates of birth complications and infant morbidity and mortality
A lowered incidence of child abuse and neglect
Promoting healthy child development through an emphasis on immunizations and other preventive health care
Enhanced parental care giving, developmental stimulation and parent-child interactions by providing role modeling and
teaching parent education skills
Preventing unintended repeat pregnancies among teenagers