Florida Healthy Start Finished?

Tad David lost his daughter almost eight years ago.

“She was born Sept 23rd, 2002. She wasn’t due until Jan. 16th, of 2003,” said Tad.

Soon after the tragedy, Tad found Healthy Start, a program assisting families with all aspects of childcare. Healthy Start counselors helped his family cope with the loss.

“A grief like that can tear a family apart,” said Tad.

Florida Healthy Start was founded in 1992. The state’s 32 coalitions provide prenatal counseling, education and basic supplies like vitamins and diapers to parents of all ages and incomes.

“Last year the program was able to service nearly 200,000 mothers and babies statewide, and all with just four million state dollars. But now their funding is on the chopping block. The Florida House is nixing the program from its version of the budget.

Representative David Murzin says it’s all part of the process.

“I don’t think anybody here believes that the end will be no funding for the program, but we do have to make tough choices,” said Murzin.

Christine Drepps is filing through a grab bag of brochures and supplies that will be given to a soon to be mother. She says the state will pay now for healthy births or it will pay later for sick babies.

“The cost of not having a healthy baby is astronomical. A stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can be anywhere from $50,000 to a million dollars,” said Drepps.

That’s a cost taxpayers have to pick up, if the mother doesn't.


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