Florida Healthy Start Program


Governor Lawton Chiles signed the Healthy Start Program in 1991.

The Florida Healthy Start Program is a non-for-profit risk screening of all Florida’s pregnant women and newborn infants to find out those that may be at risk for poor birth, health, and developmental problems.

When a pregnant woman goes for their first visit to their prenatal visit the patient is recommended by the physician to complete a “Prenatal Risk Assessment" form.

Below is the example the patient can fill out:

The patient can decline to not fill out the form.This decline is documented in the patients file.

The ranges of Healthy Start services are available to pregnant women, infants and children up to age three include the following:
  • Information and referral
  • Comprehensive assessment of service needs in light of family and community resources
  • Ongoing care coordination and support to assure access to needed services
  • Psychosocial, nutritional and smoking cessation counseling
  • Childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting support and education
  • Home visiting

There is a toll free number that the general public may call to access prenatal and infant care. It is called the Family Health Line. The number is:

  • 1-800-451-BABY or 1-800-451-2229

Statistics show that the Healthy Start Program has helped significantly:
  • fewer teenagers (age 15-17) are having babies
    • from 45 per 1,000 in 1991 to 20 per 1,000 in 2008 (1,000 representing estimated live births)
  • infant mortality declined
    • 9 per 1,000 in 1991 to 7 per 1,000 in 2008
  • starting prenatal care during first trimester rose
    • 75% in 1991 to 77% in 2008
  • 2 yr olds completing immunizations rose
    • 63% in 1991 to 86% in 2008
  • tobacco use during pregnancy declined
    • 17% in 1991 to 7% in 2008

Works Cited: