2. Healthy Steps for
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.
Healthy Steps is a new program of the Greenwood Community Children’s
Center. It is currently offered in
partnership with the Carolina Health Pediatric Associates. Healthy Steps provides mothers and fathers
more information and support for their own child on the everyday issues they
face. It takes advantage of the
teachable moments that emerge from addressing parents’ concerns about their
child’s development and behavior.
The purpose of the Healthy Steps program is to foster safe and healthy
growth and development of children ages birth to three years. Three primary themes are built into Healthy
1) The first three years of life are critically important for both the
child and the family. Scientific
advances have proved that while the basic circuits of the brain are established
before birth, the brain structuring necessary for intellectual, emotional, and
social development takes place after birth – and does so explosively in the
first three years of life.
2) Key to a young child’s healthy growth and development are nurturing
relationships between the family and child and between the medical provider and
family. Healthy Steps supports parents
in their role as nurturers of the emotional, behavioral, intellectual, and
physical growth of their child.
3) Medical care for young children can be enhanced by including the
promotion of child development, focusing on the whole child and the whole
Healthy Steps promotes family strengthening; promotes positive
parent-child interactions; and increases parent knowledge and skill in the area of child rearing, behavior
management, child development and communication. First time families receive parent education
about typical child development. The
children receive regular screenings to detect and address child developmental
delays. The mothers receive screening to
detect and address postpartum depression.
Families are connected to community resources as needed. Services are delivered by a Healthy Steps
Specialist in both individual and group settings using a research-based and age
appropriate curriculum. Office visits
are offered to coincide with well-child pediatric visits. A
dedicated parent telephone information line and monthly parent support groups
offer additional social support and information to assist
Healthy Steps services are meant
to provide significantly enhanced health care, to increase the confidence of
mothers and fathers as they rear their young children, to convey information to
mothers and fathers about normal child development, to provide more time and
opportunities for contact so that parents do not feel isolated, to teach
problem-solving skills so that families can access community supports, and to
avoid the problems that are known to increase the likelihood of child
maltreatment. Healthy Steps is a national best practice model, created by a
team from the Boston University School of Medicine.
information about this program, go to www.healthysteps.org