FHC partners with SC First Steps, Healthy Steps

The Family Health Centers, Inc. recently was awarded $214,024 in grant funds from SC First Steps, Orangeburg County First Steps to meet the changing needs of young children and families in South Carolina.

The program will be a collaboration between Family Health Centers, Inc., SC First Steps to School Readiness and Orangeburg County First Steps to provide a child development expert in the pediatrician’s office at FHC to help support and improve the health and well-being of babies, toddlers and their families. The child development expert, also called the HealthySteps specialist, collaborates with the medical team to provide universal screenings, successful interventions, referrals and follow-up to the whole family for all children from birth to 3 years of age.

HealthySteps is a nationwide program that has served more than 350,000 children from birth to 3 years old and has demonstrated positive outcomes for children, their families and the medical practices that serve them. The program is based on scientific research that has demonstrated that a child’s brain grows faster and develops more from birth to 3 years old than any other time in life. Studies have shown that when young children and their parents or caregivers’ interface with a child development expert, during this critical period of rapid brain development, the child’s development and health — as well as the family’s health — is significantly improved.

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From data reviewed between 2002 and 2008, the South Carolina Autism and developmental disabilities Monitoring Program has recognized a significant increase in the number of children identified to have developmental delay in Orangeburg County.

The HealthySteps program provides behavioral and socio-emotional developmental screenings, addresses family needs and social determinants of health, provides care coordination and systems navigation assistance as well as positive parenting guidance and information and many other resources. This service is at no extra cost for the family.

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