Health Start, an ADHS program that educates pregnant and postpartum women about the benefits of prenatal care and childhood immunizations, will now be able to help even more Arizona babies get a healthier start.
A curriculum developed by the ADHS Health Start team has been approved for use in training community health workers, who will use that training to educate parents about child development, immunizations, home safety, vehicle safety, and other subjects. The program was approved by the Arizona Community Health Workers Association (AzCHOW).
“We were impressed with the comprehensiveness of the curriculum as well as the passion and enthusiasm with which everyone at the site visit spoke of the program and its contents,” the review committee stated.
Developed in Arizona and offered for 28 years, Health Start is a home visiting intervention that provides services through the child’s first two years. The program is provided free of charge and targets women in socioeconomic groups that have historically been underserved by programs that support maternal and child health, including Hispanic and American Indian women, those with less than a high school education, teenage and first-time mothers, and those with health risks such as diabetes and hypertension.
Health Start uses community health workers who often live in the same communities as the women they serve. By getting to know the women and their families, community health workers are better able to connect them to appropriate resources such as health care, education, and parenting resources. Community health workers also screen each child periodically to identify potential developmental delays and refer the family to the appropriate provider.
A comprehensive evaluation covering 2006-2016 found that participation in Arizona’s Health Start Program improved low birth weight and preterm birth outcomes, prenatal care attendance, and on-time child immunizations.
It’s important to know how to connect families to home visitation services. Visit strongfamilies.az to connect with a local Health Start program or other home visitation programs offered statewide.