Healthy Babies

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - 20 year old Tominique Hadley is all smiles, grateful her three week old baby is in good health.

When Tominique found out she was pregnant she turned to her mom, but her mom was fighting a losing battle with cancer. And Tominique found herself without a support system. That’s when she found Florida Healthy Start.

“I was not eating well. I was not sleeping well. I was definitely not going down the right path. I found out about the program and they got me on the right track,” said Tominique.

Healthy Start offers pregnant women prenatal care, diet advice, drug and alcohol counseling and other services proven to improve the chances of a healthy delivery.

The program was created by the legislature twenty years ago.

“Since Healthy Start’s inception, Florida’s infant mortality rate has dropped significantly,” said Judi Vitucci, Director of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions.

The state hit an all time low with statistics released Monday showing just 6.9 out of every thousand babies in Florida dying before they reach one. But with the state budget in shambles, changes to the program are in the works.

Last year, child advocates fought back budget cuts that would have left the program without any state dollars. This year there’s a proposed management change that has advocates concerned.

Right now they’re taking their case to lawmakers.

“A cut unfortunately of any size would probably hit us at a time when we’re least capable of handling it,” said Dixie Morgese, With Healthy Start in Flagler County.

Healthy Start receives just four million dollars from the state. Advocates say it saves taxpayers in the long run, by ensuring more Floridians begin life in good health.

Governor Rick Scott’s budget proposal holds Healthy Start harmless in funding, but moves the administrate authority over the program from the Department of Health to the Department of Management Services.

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  • by Tominique Location: Tallahassee on Feb 15, 2011 at 09:17 AM
    I agree with Ima. In a perfect world that's how things would have happened for me but in my unique situation, this baby came at the time she did for a reason. After the death of my mother I would have been a miserable 20 yr old with no parents and no responsibilites. The Healthy Start Program isn't here to promote women to become mothers at a young age, but to help any mother who needs that extra support. I love my daugther and she has made life worth living!! Thanks Healthy Start!!
  • by CJ Location: Tally on Feb 15, 2011 at 07:18 AM
    Ditto Ima and Serena. Programs like Healthy Start are great and should be funded by charitable contributions only.
  • by a mama on Feb 15, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    Ilove the healthy start program. My husband and I are a young couple and never knew what we were getting into when we had our child. The cost of having a child that is unable to latch because of health issue, is extremely expensive! I paid for a lot of my formula but they really helped me out in times of need. He actually just celebrated his first birthday and we are praying for his health in the years to come. Thank you Healthy Start and TMH for keeping my son healthy and alive.
  • by Serena Location: Tallahassee on Feb 15, 2011 at 05:34 AM
    Yep, I agree with Ima - doesn't require any state funds either. How about that!
  • by Ima Location: Tallahassee on Feb 14, 2011 at 05:49 PM
    Here's a recipe for a Healthy Start: stay in school, graduate, get a job, work hard, marry a nice guy, wait until you are well past your crazy teen years, and THEN get pregnant. Imagine that!
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