Florida Healthy Start offers targeted support services that address risks for poor birth outcomes or developmental delay identified through the state’s universal prenatal and infant screens. The state’s largest Title V program, Healthy Start provides services to pregnant women, infants and children up to age three in all 67 counties including: information, referral and ongoing care coordination and support; psychosocial, nutritional and smoking cessation counseling; childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting support and education, and home visiting. Thirty-one community coalitions oversee funding and the development of local systems of care for at-risk pregnant women and their families.
Healthy Families Florida is a statewide network of nationally accredited family support and coaching programs that help parents provide the safe and stable environments children need for healthy growth and development. HFF provides community-based home visitation services focused on promoting positive parent-child interaction, family self-sufficiency and child health and development. Administered by the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, HFF funds 35 community grants that provide services to families living in targeted areas in all 67 Florida counties.
The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is a parent involvement and school readiness program. HIPPY offers free home-based early childhood education for three, four and five year old children working with their parent(s) as their first teacher. The parent is provided with a set of developmentally appropriate materials, curriculum and books designed to strengthen their children’s cognitive skills, early literacy skills, social/emotional and physical development. HIPPY is currently provided by organizations in 12 Florida communities.
Early Head Start programs provide early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services on a year-round basis to low-income families through center-based and optional home visiting. The purpose of the Early Head Start program is to enhance children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development; to support parents’ efforts to fulfill their parental roles; and to help parents move toward self-sufficiency.
The federal Healthy Start initiative, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) addresses racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes by supporting projects in communities that experience high infant mortality rates. Six projects in Gadsden, Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, provide the following core services: direct outreach and client recruitment, health education, case management, depression screening and referral, and interconceptional care services to for all participants. Services are provided in the community, clinic and home settings. The federal initiative also focuses on community development activities aimed at addressing social determinants and other factors that impact birth outcomes in minority neighborhoods.
Early Steps is Florida’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop. Early Steps is a family-centered and most services are early intervention home visits. A child’s eligibility for services is determined through a screening process.