Healthy Start

Healthy Start is a home visitation program designed to help new parents to better help meet the needs of their young children and the challenges of caring for them.  Healthy Start is available to families in Madison County.

Healthy Start’s focus is to:

  • Identify families in need of support
  • Build trusting family relationships
  • Promote positive parent-child interaction
  • Promote healthy childhood growth and development

Where does this take place?

Healthy Start’s Family Support Worker will visit with you in your home. They may also assist you with doctor visits or other appointments.

Who does Healthy Start serve?

The Healthy Start Family Assessment Worker will meet you during the last three months of your pregnancy or before your baby is three months old to determine your family’s needs. If you are enrolled in the program, you will be visited by a Family Support Worker, who will become a friend you can count on! If you decide not to enroll in Healthy Start, our support worker can advise you of other services in the community that will be helpful and informative.

For further information, contact the Healthy Start office at 731-541-6954.

What can Healthy Start do for me?

Healthy Start wants to help strengthen family life.  The focus of the program will be centered on enhancing family functioning through the following:

  • Teaching problem-solving skills
  • Positive parent/child interactions
  • Healthy childhood growth and development

What can Healthy Start do for my baby?

Healthy Start will provide mothers and fathers valuable information and support on the following topics:

  • Attachment and bonding
  • Confidence in caretaking skills
  • Growth and Development
  • Improving Healthy Outcomes
  • Enhancing Family Stability

The Family Support Worker will teach parents ways to care for their baby and help her become the very best she can be.  We believe the most valuable gift a child can receive from his parents is a loving, nurturing, happy family, and we will work to help achieve this goal.

How much does it cost?

Healthy Start services are offered free of charge and families participate voluntarily. Healthy Start is a program coordinated through Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. It is directed by the Tennessee Department of Health and is funded by a combination of state and Federal Family Preservation/Family Support Funds.

Services of Healthy Start

The Healthy Start Family Assessment Worker will begin meeting with parents during pregnancy or before the baby is three months old to determine your needs.  Once enrolled in the program, you will be visited by a Family Support Worker who will become a friend that you can depend on.

The worker may also advise you of other services in the community that will be helpful and informative.  Healthy Start will also provide you with information about local services.

Some of the services offered through the Healthy Start Program include:

Family Support

Your Family Support Worker will provide information on:

  • Mother’s health
  • Attachment and bonding
  • Confidence in parenting skills
  • Growth and development
  • Health and medical care
  • Family Health and Personal Needs

The birth of a baby causes many physical and emotional changes.  The Healthy Start Home Visitor will assist parents by answering questions about their feelings and health needs.  Parent concerns covered include:

  • Fatigue and loss of sleep
  • Physical and emotional changes
  • Enhancing self-esteem
  • Changes in relationship with spouse or significant other

Attachment and bonding

Encouragement of positive parent-child interaction helps establish a strong bond between the primary caregiver and infant.  One important goal of home visits during the first weeks and months of the infant’s life is to help the mother and father bond with the infant.  Topics include:

  • Trust building
  • Holding and touching baby
  • Making eye contact
  • Talking to your baby
  • Bonding between mother, father and baby
  • Developing parent-infant love

Confidence in Parenting Skills

Knowing how to care for an infant can relieve some of the stress involved with having a new baby and can give parents confidence.  Home visitors may discuss:

  • When and how to feed your baby
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Crying and consoling
  • Changing and bathing your baby
  • How your feelings affect your baby
  • Coping with colic
  • Keeping infants safe
  • Involving the father in parenting

Growth and Development

The first few months and years of children’s lives are critical to their growth and development.  Healthy Start provides new parents information about what to expect in each of their child’s development stages. The home visitor may talk about:

  • How to play with your baby
  • Supporting your baby’s thinking and emotional development
  • Major milestones in physical development
  • Ensuring there are realistic expectations of baby’s development

Health and Medical

One of the best results of positive parenting is a healthy child. The home visitor will teach parents about the health needs of children, such as:

  • Immunization schedules
  • Growth chart
  • Where to go for help in your community
  • What to do in an emergency
  • Well-child care schedule
  • How to prepare for a visit to the doctor

For more information, contact the Healthy Start office at 731-541-6954.

West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, Limited English Proficiency or sex, including discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping or pregnancy in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by WTH directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which WTH arranges to carry out its programs and activities.