Community Programs & Resources : Healthy Steps

About Healthy Steps

With medical practices under pressure to see more patients, many physicians feel frustrated that they cannot offer the time required to help parents better understand and care for their young children. The Healthy Steps team approach provides the resources physicians need to give high quality care and the information parents want and need.

New parents often say that they wish their baby came with an instruction manual. Healthy Steps for Young Children is even better than that mythical manual. Mothers and fathers with young children want more information and support for their own child on the everyday issues they face – sleeping, crying, toilet training, and discipline, and how to encourage their child to learn. This is exactly what Healthy Steps provides. Designed for all families, Healthy Steps allows physicians to expand services beyond those concerned solely with the physical health of young children. It provides a new and comprehensive approach to health care that supports mothers and fathers in their role as nurturers of the emotional, behavioral, intellectual, and physical growth of their children.

Healthy Steps uses a team approach to primary health care for young children. The team includes a professional staff member, called a Healthy Steps Specialist, whose background in child development, nursing, or social work is complemented by Healthy Steps training. The Healthy Steps Specialist is the member of the health care team who provides the effective link between the family and the pediatric and family practice. The Healthy Steps Specialist provides enhanced pediatric care to families with children birth to age three through conducting developmental and socioemotional screening, providing anticipatory guidance and addressing parents’ developmental concerns, conducting home visits, facilitating parent information groups, staffing a child developmental telephone line, and providing systematic linkage to community resources through targeted referrals to ensure that families are healthy and that children are developing on target.