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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Healthy Start

Florida Department of Health in Columbia County

Every Baby Deserves a Healthy Start Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions Inc


What is Healthy Start?

Healthy Start is a FREE program that provides services to families with pregnant women, infants and children up to age 3 who are at risk for poor birth outcomes and need help with healthy child development. Services include education and support in childbirth, breastfeeding, women’s health, parenting and more!

How do I participate in the Healthy Start program?

Ask your doctor, nurse or midwife for the Healthy Start Screen, which is a simple one-page set of questions to see if you could benefit from Healthy Start services. The screen is confidential and is used only to provide the best possible care for you and your baby.

Is Healthy Start for babies too?

Yes. Before you go home from the hospital or birth center, ask your healthcare provider if your baby has received the Healthy Start Infant Screen. Florida law requires that all newborns be screened. This screen can uncover factors that could affect your health or the baby’s health, growth and development. If the screen shows your baby could benefit from Healthy Start services, a Healthy Start Home Visitor will contact you.

What if I don’t need any help?

Even if you don’t think you need or want to use Healthy Start services, please complete the Healthy Start screen. Your answers will be used to help improve care for ALL moms and babies. So, say YES to the Healthy Start Screen!

Healthy Start Services

Healthy Start provides one-on-one support to assist you throughout your pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. Your Healthy Start Home Visitor will meet you at your doctor’s office, your home or any place that is convenient for you. She will assist you with services and education to help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Services include:

Home Visiting

  • Get one-on-one support in your home or another convenient location
  • Count on a friendly advisor throughout your pregnancy and after your baby is born
  • Access services that are designed to meet your unique needs

Prenatal Education and Support

  • Understand changes to your body and emotions during pregnancy
  • Learn what to expect during labor and delivery
  • Get information on food, medicine and exercise that can help or harm you and baby
  • Find out the warning signs for early delivery

Breastfeeding Education and Support

  • Learn techniques for successful and enjoyable breastfeeding
  • Get answers to your questions and concerns about breastfeeding
  • Understand how breastfeeding benefits you and your baby

Newborn Care

  • Take care of your new baby
  • Keep baby safe with the latest safety guidelines on sleep, car seats and more
  • Learn about infant nutrition
  • Understand the growth of your baby

Parenting Education and Support

  • Prepare for your baby to come home
  • Track and support your baby’s development
  • Learn new ways to play and connect with your baby
  • Become your baby’s first teacher

Health and Well-being

  • Plan for future pregnancies
  • Make healthy lifestyles choices for you and your family
  • Gain access to resources for your family
  • Get support for feeling anxious, stressed or having the “Baby Blues”

Be sure to ask your healthcare provider or midwife about Healthy Start or contact the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County, Healthy Start Program Office at (386) 758-1065 to learn how you can enroll in the program. You may also email Susie Tyson, program director at