Advocate For Healthy Moms, Babies and Families

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Healthy Start is an essential community health service.

Healthy Start is both an umbrella and safety net for the maternal and child health system of care in each county across Florida.  Healthy Start is responsible for implementing systems of care in every community as well as providing services for pregnant women and young children up to the age of three.   Healthy Start’s universal risk screening remains the crucial infrastructure to identify families in need at the earliest point possible – from the first prenatal appointment through a baby’s delivery.  Provision of risk-appropriate care and access to timely prenatal and postpartum care result in healthier pregnancies and births, thereby saving lives and costs associated with a poor birth outcome.

Across Florida Healthy Start currently touches more than half of all pregnant women and 40% of newborns, and in Flagler and Volusia counties Healthy Start has provided direct services to more than 7,000 at-risk pregnant women, infants and families annually.

The Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler & Volusia Counties needs our partners, programs, and supporters to continuously advocate and share the vital importance that Healthy Start has to our communities.

Florida Legislative Priorities

The Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler & Volusia Counties also works with our sister organizations across the state to advocate on behalf of pregnant women, babies, and families with young children.

2021 Priority Issues:

  • Investing in a Healthy Start for Florida’s Children

In a tight budget year, it is vital to remember that the highest rate of return on investment is during the earliest years (ages 0-3). This is why it is critical to ensure that every baby has a chance at a Healthy Start. Click here to read more.

  • Racial Disparities in Birth Outcomes

Significant health disparities exist with respect to birth and maternal and child health outcomes.  Minority populations experience much higher rates of poor birth outcomes and Black women in the U.S. are 3 times more likely to dies from pregnancy-related causes than white women.  In addition, the preterm birth rate in Florida is 52% higher than the rate among all other women. Healthy Start believes we can do better.  Click here to read more.

  • Perinatal Depression

Pregnant women with depression are 3.4 times more likely to deliver preterm and four times more likely to deliver a low birth-weight baby than non-depressed women. Perinatal depression also contributes to long-term health and developmental issues in children. Children of depressed mothers are at higher risk of experiencing development delays at 18 months, and physical health problems in early childhood, resulting in later social and emotional problems during adolescence and adulthood. Click here to read more.

  • Maternal Mortality & Morbidity

Maternal mortality is a health crisis in the United States- we have one of the highest rates of maternal mortality of all developed countries and unfortunately maternal mortality ratios have more than doubled over the last 30 years, going from 7.2 in 1997 to 17.3 in 2017.  In addition, Black mothers in Florida are 2-3X more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White mothers. Too many women die from pregnancy or delivery complications and those experiencing severe morbidity is unacceptable high. Click here to read more.

  • Substance Use Disorder

An estimated five percent of women — or more than 11,000 in Florida — use one or more addictive substances during pregnancy. Smoking tobacco or marijuana, taking prescription pain relievers, or using illegal drugs during pregnancy is associated with poor birth outcomes, including stillbirth.
Click here to read more.

  • Enhancing Medicaid Benefits 12 Months Postpartum

According to the Perinatal Periods of Risk research, most fetal and infant deaths are due to the health of the mother before she gets pregnant. Currently, women in Florida who qualify for Medicaid due to pregnancy lose their coverage 60 days after their pregnancy ends leaving them uninsured until their next pregnancy and unable to address ongoing health issues such as hypertension. While current coverage allows for a postpartum visit (usually at six weeks), many pregnancy-related complications arise beyond this period.
Click here to read more.