Healthy Start

Program Description

Chester County is one of the wealthiest counties in the state, but many local children are at risk of serious health problems such as being born too small (under 5.5 pounds) or too early (before 37 weeks). These health problems not only affect the children and their families, but the entire community. For example, all health care payers – public and private – share the cost of caring for premature babies. And according to recent research, the average medical costs for a preterm baby were more than 10 times higher than for a healthy full-term baby. The average costs for a healthy baby from birth to his first birthday were $4,551. For a preterm baby, these costs were $49,033!

Studies are clear about what obstacles stand in the way of a healthy baby. Our Healthy Start services (in Spanish and English) target these risk factors during a woman’s pregnancy and in her child’s earliest years to ensure a healthy family. An independent study of Healthy Start’s first 14 years (1996-2009) showed that babies born to Healthy Start moms in our target communities were healthier than babies of moms in the same communities who were not enrolled. Check out the full Impact Report, Healthy Start: Reducing Health Disparities (1996-2009).

As babies born too early and too small may face long-term effects, investments in the health of young children result in a real financial return for communities – with fewer costs going to medical care and special education, lower school dropout rates, less crime, and a higher probability that parents will be able to work steadily and their kids will grow up to contribute to our economy. Today, it’s more important than ever to make sure your investments have a direct impact on the families of Chester County.

Impact

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GivingTuesdayNow is on May 5th

MCHC continues providing services during this difficult time. We are grateful for your support. Our program participants are receiving services remotely during this public health crisis either through (IVC) interactive video conferencing using WhatsApp application to have two way, real-time, audiovisual communication between MCHC staff members and Family (parent and target child and others) or through telecommunication (audio phone calls) and following the guidelines from "Parents and Teachers curriculum" during this difficult time; ensuring staff is able to share important COVID-19 information as the situation evolves. Our staff is able to support the majority of parents who are at home with their children and provide them with interactive activities that are conducive to their children’s learning and development. In addition, the staff is directing and providing different resources including healthcare access to families in different communities. Your generosity is making a huge difference in the life of many children. We are providing support to families around the County with basic items including diapers, formula, personal care items, and food box donations. Just in the past month, MCHC staff have delivered over 85 food boxes from Chester County Food Bank, diapers, formula, and other baby items and we estimate an increasing need in the coming weeks. Family Benefit Specialists continue doing Health Insurance and SNAP benefits enrollments on a daily basis. While many other local human service organizations are closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, our capacity to support families virtually allowed us to adjust our program structure within a week. Support from donors like you will enable us to sustain our program infrastructure and support our staff as we continue serving vulnerable families in our community.