Discover What IRC Healthy Start Coalition Can Do For You
Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition offers a network of care, support, and specialized classes and programs for every mother, every baby, and every family in Indian River County.
We serve our community in three major areas:
“I would have been lost in the first days of my firstborn’s birth
without the guiding care and personal support of Healthy Start.”
Mandy, Mom of 2
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Explore our program offerings and next steps for enrollment:
1) Contact your Women’s Health provider to schedule your first appointment. If you do not have a provider or need guidance on how to find the right provider for you, contact Bridgette Jerger (772-563-9118 ext 121) directly to get started.
2) Take the Healthy Start Coalition prenatal screening to establish eligibility.
3) Discover what programs are best suited for you!
Still have questions?
Healthy Start Coalition
Florida’s Healthy Start initiative was signed into law on June 4, 1991 after then Governor, Lawton Chiles convened a group of community leaders and challenged them to develop ways to reduce Florida’s alarmingly high infant mortality rate.
In order to create a system of care for expectant mothers through this legislation Healthy Start Coalitions throughout the state were created. The Healthy Start legislation provides for all pregnant women and newborn infants throughout the state with a universal risk screening (Healthy Start prenatal screening) to identify if they are at risk of poor birth, health and developmental outcomes.
Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition was founded in 1993, and provides health education and support for mothers, babies and families in Indian River County. Healthy Start supports multiple programs across the county. These programs include Healthy Families, Parents As Teachers, Nurse Family Partnership, Babies and Beyond, and the Community Doula program.
Connections Specialist - Coordinated Intake & Referral (CI&R)
This is the gateway to all our programs and services. Whatever you need as a parent in Indian River County, our connections specialist Stacey Washburn will be happy to help guide you.
The State of Florida has tasked the Healthy Start Coalitions with establishing and maintaining a CI&R system of care in every county thoughout the state. It’s through CI&R that participants are contacted, assessed, provided information, and referred to home visiting programs and other community services. Eligibility for CI&R begins when a pregnant woman or an infant/child is referred to CI&R by a health care provider, a community service provider, or through self-referral. If you have visited a health care provider, but have not completed an assessment and would like to, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121.
Babies & Beyond
The Babies and Beyond program provides childbirth education, lactation support within the hospital, nurse home visitation to all postpartum moms, and developmentally appropriate peer-to-peer play groups. 95% of all moms in Indian River County take advantage of this program.
This program is designed to increase health literacy, strengthen parenting skills, and ensure that each baby in Indian River County gets the healthy start they deserve.
- Before – Prenatal, Childbirth, and First Years Classes. To review the class catalog, click here.
- During – At the hospital, access to a lactation consultant for breastfeeding education and support.
- After (Postpartum) – Registered Nurse Newborn Home Visits. Phone call at 8 weeks and peer-to-peer play groups.
Typical Eligibility: Available to all pregnant women and families that may be expecting. Must live in Indian River County. To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121.
Community Doula Program
The Healthy Start Community Doula program supports, educates, and empowers pregnant women to take control of their health.
The program will achieve this by providing prenatal educational support and continuous labor support to the laboring woman at the hospital. The services will continue postnatally. Specialized services are provided by a trained Doula.
The program aims to improve birth outcomes and health literacy for residents of Indian River County.
Services: A certified trained Doula will help guide, support and provide information to mothers who are expecting. This relationship is built by home visits and communication throughout the pregnancy.
Typical Eligibility: Must complete a Healthy Start Prenatal Screen and go through the Coordinated Intake and Referral Program. Must be pregnant. Must live in Indian River County. To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121.
Health Education Services
This program provides support and health education for pregnant mothers, interconception care, developmental and depression screenings, and other monitoring processes to ensure baby will get the healthiest start possible.
With this program, you can get support with:
- Having a healthy pregnancy
- Eating healthy
- Help for you and or household members to quit smoking
- Education after baby is born, family planning and self-care
- Connections to other services in community
- Family planning
Services: In-home personal Health Education and support
Typical Eligibility: Must take Healthy Start Prenatal Screening. Available to all pregnant women and families with babies less than a year old. Must live in Indian River County. To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121.
Healthy Families IRC is a voluntary program that works with either pregnant women or families of newborns to promote bonding and positive parenting.
Families can become eligible by completing the Healthy Start Prenatal Screening or families can complete a separate Healthy Families screening.
Healthy Families offers information’s on child’s growth and development, teaches healthy ways of dealing with everyday stress, assists in setting and achieving goals, and provides positive parenting skills, activities and age appropriate disciple options. Lastly, this program helps connect families to community services and resources. the family.
Services: A specially trained home visitor will come to the home during a pregnancy, and can work with the family for up to 5 years.
Typical eligibility requirements: Must complete a Healthy Start Prenatal Screen or Healthy Families Screen. Must be pregnant or have a baby under 3 months old. Must live in Indian River County. To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121.
Parents As Teachers
Parents as Teachers is a home visit based program that focuses on helping ALL children learn, grow and develop to their full potential. That means providing the information, support and encouragement that all parents/caregivers need for their children to develop optimally during the crucial early years of life. Our goal is to help parents engage with their children in ways that lead to a lifetime of good health, educational achievement and future successes.
- Supportive parent groups
- Education to increase parental knowledge of early childhood development and build stronger attachment between child and caregiver
- Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues
- Increase children’s school readiness and success
- Prevent child abuse and neglect
- Provide clients with the highest level of support and education to ensure successful outcomes
Typical Eligibility: Must complete a Healthy Start Prenatal Screen. Must be pregnant or have a baby under 3 years of age. Must live in Indian River County. To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121.
Nurse Family Partnership
Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) is a community health program that helps mothers engage in preventative health practices through early prenatal care, improving diets, and reducing risk factors.
NFP helps improve child health and development by assisting parents with responsible, competent care and building a positive future for their children.
Mothers enrolled in the program receive free in home visits from a registered nurse from the prenatal period through the baby’s second birthday.
Services: A trained nurse in taking care of moms and babies will visit the home during the pregnancy, up until the baby is 2 years old.
To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please contact Bridgette Jerger at (772) 563-9118 ext 121..
Establish and support a local system of care that
optimizes the health of moms, babies and their families
living in Indian River County
To see every infant has the opportunity for good health
and positive early learning experiences that unfold
within strong family relationships