Centerstone, one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit behavioral healthcare providers, congratulates the federal Healthy Start program on celebrating 25 years of impacting the health of women, infants, children and their families by providing access to and education around health services and reproductive life planning.
Healthy Start is dedicated to reducing inequalities in maternal and infant health in high risk communities; Centerstone supports women before, during and after pregnancy by addressing their health and social service needs, strengthening family resilience and engaging community partners to enhance systems of care.
With the aid of Healthy Start grant funding, Centerstone’s Early Childhood Services team is caring for Middle Tennessee women and families in Bedford, Coffee, Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall and Maury counties.
Centerstone Early Childhood Services are available to women of reproductive age, pregnant women, mothers who have just given birth and families with young children from birth to a child’s second birthday. Additionally the services offered include fatherhood engagement and supporting couples with reproductive life planning.
“We focus on family centered care, bringing parents and babies together through the first two years of life,” said April Scott, Healthy Start Project Director at Centerstone. “Our services include a fatherhood component which works with dads to become better fathers. We also provide parenting support and educational tools to strengthen family resilience. Our goal is to create optimal infant and young child health and development while being engaged with the community.”
Healthy Start works in communities with infant mortality rates at least 1.5 times the national average and high rates of low birth weight, preterm birth and maternal mortality. Healthy Start is funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“My experience with Centerstone has been enlightening,” said Abby Forsythe, Chair of Centerstone’s Healthy Start Community Action Network (CAN). “Being a part of the Centerstone CAN has allowed me to collaborate with others to address infant mortality, prenatal care, breastfeeding, the mental health of mom and baby and many other areas of concerns that are sometimes overlooked because we assume moms and families are receiving this information somewhere else. Centerstone has provided an opportunity to work with a passionate group of people determined to close the gap by working within our community to make sure our families have healthy babies and grow great kids!”