The Family Wellness Healthy Start Program
The Family Wellness Healthy Start Program (FWHS) is a program that aims to eliminate health disparities and improve birth outcomes and reduce maternal mortality for low income, African American and Hispanic pregnant women who live in Hartford and New Britain.
The program connects pregnant women from these cities to health care so they can receive program services which include: an assessment, health education, referrals, and follow-up services and support. The program works with health care partners around the state to increase the participants’ ability to access services and advocate for themselves.
Why the program is needed:
Although Connecticut as a whole fares better overall in terms of prenatal health and birth outcomes compared to the rest of the nation, significant disparities persist for various segments of the population. Infant mortality is one of the many perinatal outcomes for which marked disparities exist among Hispanic and Black/African American women statewide. Infant mortality disparity is more pronounced in urban areas of the state, including the Healthy Start target communities of Hartford and New Britain.
Our Community Partners
There are 8 contracted Community Partners who provide Family Wellness Health Start services:
- Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford
- The Charter Oak Health Center Inc.
- The City of Hartford Health and Human Services
- Community Health Services Inc.
- The Hispanic Health Council
- St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center
- The Urban League of Greater Hartford
- Community Health Center, Inc.
Additionally, the program funds direct services which include outreach through the Outreach Worker at the Urban League of Greater Hartford, care coordination and case management through Care Coordinators at Charter Oak Health Center, the City of Hartford Health and Human Services, the Hispanic Health Council, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, the Community Health Center; and Fatherhood and Relationship groups through Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford.
How the Program Works
The Family Wellness Health Start Program funds 8 contractors who employ Care Coordinators and Outreach workers. By building trust these program staff recruit, enroll, and engage low-income and high risk pregnant African- American and Hispanic women from Hartford and New Britain to the program. The program is offered from preconception until the child turns 18 month old:
Services during that time include:
- Care coordination and case management
- Health education to pregnant women and their families
- Prenatal, interconception and postpartum assessments such as performing depression screening, risk assessments, housing needs, and domestic violence screening
- Direct services including case management, linking participants to resources for insurance, health and behavioral health care, child care, housing and basic needs
- Referral to community services and follow-up; health education,
- Conduct outreach and presentations for program awareness at local community locations. Example at WIC sites, day care centers, Doctor’s offices, churches and shelters.
- Educate and assist clients on insurance coverage
- Perform infant developmental assessments to improve early childhood outcomes. Community referrals are provided as needed.
- Promote and monitor interconception health among high-risk women including chronic disease management, behavioral/mental health and reduction of reproductive health risks such as smoking and alcohol intake.
The Community Action Network and Plan
The program includes a Community Action Network known as the CAN. The CAN is made up of partners, participants and consumers who work across sectors to identify and resolve factors impacting perinatal health disparities among the target population and to maximize opportunities for community action to address social determinants of health. The FWHS program monitors the contracts with Contract Partners to assure that services are provided to participants and strive to work on the following:
1. Improve access to quality health care and services
2. Strengthen the health care workforce
3. Build healthy communities
4. Improve health equity by working with resources, and utilizing model programs and strategies to:
- Improve Women’s Health
- Improve Family Health and Wellness
- Promote Systems Change
- Assure Impact and Effectiveness
For more information about the Family Wellness Healthy Start Program
The Family Wellness Healthy Start (FWHS) Program is formerly known as the Hartford Federal Healthy Start Program (HHS).
The FWHS Program is funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.