Newsletter | Spring 2018
Twenty-five years of legislation has resulted in untold lives saved and over a million families helped by Healthy Start. Infant deaths in Florida have decreased 35.4% from 1990 to 2015. We can estimate that 753 more babies survived in 2015 as compared to 1990 due to the positive change in the infant death rate. Healthy Start contributes to Florida’s better birth outcomes; saves babies’ lives; and reduces the costs associated with poor birth outcomes.

Budget cuts of approximately 19% were proposed for Healthy Start by the Florida Senate during this legislative session. Advocacy activities throughout the state urged lawmakers to not support the cuts on our system and to provide the funding that has been received in recent years. Fortunately, Healthy Start will not receive the proposed funding cuts. Governor Rick Scott signed the state budget that will allow Healthy Start to continue to serve families.

In 2017, 7,598 women received prenatal support from Healthy Start in Hillsborough County. During this time, 11,622 infants received services from Healthy Start. Due to the approved funding, these services can continue both in our county and in the state of Florida.

Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County would like to thank the Florida Legislature, Board of Directors, staff, community partners and all who advocated for the approval of this funding during the recent legislative session. Learn more about Healthy Start Coalition.
In Memory of Ann Ashcraft
It is with great sadness to share that Ann Ashcraft, the first Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County, passed away on April 15, 2018. From 1992 – 2002, Ann led the Coalition’s efforts in improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, children and families in our community. In 2002, she moved to Virginia, where her commitment to impacting the lives of others continued through her work in ministry. Ann was a valued leader and friend and will be greatly missed.
Safe Baby Training
This March the Safe Baby staff trained Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s new Child Protection Investigators on how to keep infants safe from leading causes of preventable infant death.

The next Safe Baby Training is 
Thursday, June 14, 1:00 to 3:00pm at the Healthy Start Coalition Training Room. To register, send email to or call Nancy at 813-849-7994.

Taskforce Guest
The Honorable Jack Espinosa, Jr. (left) joined the HSC’s Substance Exposed Newborn Taskforce to talk about Family Dependency Drug Court with members of the taskforce from local hospitals and partnering programs. The taskforce meets quarterly at the HSC led by Community Outreach Director Lisa Colen (right). For more information, call 813-849-7999.
Nurse-Family Partnership Receives Additional Funding
Nurse-Family Partnership is an evidence-based, community health program that serves low-income women pregnant with their first child. Each new mom is partnered with a registered nurse early in her pregnancy and receives ongoing nurse home visits. It is a life-transforming partnership, for the mom and her child. NFP helps families and the communities they live while focuses on improving the health of mothers, improving the health and development of the child and increasing the self-sufficiency of the family.

Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County has received funds through the Florida Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV) Program to implement NFP since October 2013. The Coalition contracts with REACHUP, Inc. to provide these needed services. NFP successfully applied for additional funding from the National Service Organization of NFP, providing partial funding for expansion of existing teams which will provide for an additional two nurse home visitors and an assistant nurse supervisor. These funds will provide the support for 200 families in Hillsborough County. Learn more about NFP.
Healthy Families Celebrates 20 Years!
This year, Healthy Families Florida and Healthy Families Hillsborough are celebrating their 20-year Anniversary.
In March 1998, the Florida Legislature passed legislation that created the Healthy Families Florida program as the premiere Child Abuse and Neglect prevention program. Funded by the Department of Children and Families, the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida rolled out the Healthy Families Florida multi-site system.

The Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County was selected as the lead agent for Healthy Families Hillsborough. Funding was matched by Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and initially created two home visiting teams to serve targeted zip codes in the county.

Now, 20 years later, Healthy Families has six home visiting teams and has expanded their services to all pregnant women and parents of newborn residents of Hillsborough County.
Over the last 20 years:
  • Served 6,000 parents and 11,000 children
  • Completed 187,649 home visits
  • Screened over 141,600 families
  • Assessed for program eligibility 21,500 new parents

In addition to these staggering numbers, 99% of Healthy Families children were free of abuse and neglect one, two and three years after graduating the program. 99% of children that were enrolled six months or longer were also free of verified findings of abuse and neglect.
In the most recent participant satisfaction survey distributed in September 2017, 99% of the families said they were satisfied with services and would recommend the Healthy Families Program to someone else.

I started Healthy Families when I was homeless and pregnant with my second child. Now I have my own place and car. I am in the middle of a promotion at work and this success in less than two years has come along with the assistance and support of this program. I’ve had three different visitors and they are all great.
Thank you!
My “secret agent” home visitor is an angel! She has been an absolute blessing. She is always filled with wonderful knowledge and both professional and personal experiences to share and always is breathtakingly kind and loving. Having her in my life has been a true blessing.
Children in the Afterschool Reading Crew
at the CBFRC in Central Tampa.
Children's Board Family Resource Centers Offer
Afterschool Reading Crew
The Children's Board Family Resource Centers are now offering a new program emphasizing learning success. The Afterschool Reading Crew is a five-week series of classes for children in kindergarten, first and second grade designed to help improve their literacy skills and develop a love for reading.

The sessions are led by professional tutors from A! SLS Success through Learning & Support.

Women & Infant Resource Specialists at WIC
The Women and Infant Resource Specialist at WIC program, launched in October 2017, provides increased access and linkage to resources and safety education for pregnant women and women with children who are receiving the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Services. The program focuses on pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women with an infant up to the age of one year.

The Resource Specialists work with staff at eight WIC sites in Hillsborough County and assist in:
  • Providing education, resources and support
  • Triaging parents and their children into services based on assessed risk factors
  • Educating expectant mothers about the importance of establishing adequate prenatal care and connecting them with a provider if needed
  • Educating expectant mothers on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding thus joining efforts with WIC clinics while promoting their classes and other support groups in the community
  • Providing Safe Baby education to each expectant or new mother to promote safe practices and prevent unintentional abuse; and
  • Make referrals to HSC Programs such as Healthy Start, Healthy Families, and Nurse-Family Partnership.

As of March of 2018, this project, funded by the Children's Board, has already served over four hundred participants.
Milida Rodriguez, Health Support Specialist, Maria Arias, Health Support Specialist
Adriana Maldonado, Woman and Infant Resource Specialist, and Martha Zabaleta, Nutrition educator
Top 10 Provider Screening Rates
Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County
2806 N. Armenia Ave. | Suite 100 | Tampa, FL 33607