8.5 Health and Developmental Services


What Is It?

Your program has a structure to assure that the families with whom you work receive comprehensive services. The managers of your program and your supervisor will have an overall approach for services and individual agreements with community service providers. The home visitor works with each family to help track and assure that they have annual health, vision, hearing, behavioral, and developmental screening when needed [Head Start Act, Section 645(i)(2)(E)], as well as other services the family may need in order to meet their goals.

Head Start programs may strive to use the World Health Organization definition of health:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International HealthConference, New York, June 19–22, 1946).

How To

To assure that families are receiving the health and developmental services the family needs, you:

  • find out how families identify their health needs, what services they are receiving, how they view well child care and immunizations, how and when they use health care services, and if they have a medical home. What might they talk to a health care provider about? What do they consider health to be?

  • promote health through anticipatory guidance addressing topics including smoking in homes, wearing helmets, safe sleeping practices, and water safety.

  • utilize your Health Services Advisory Committee and your community resources and partners, and consider including partners that may be able to support health and developmental services, such as:

    • Health clinics

    • Oral health providers and clinics

    • Mental health consultants

    • Mental health agencies and/or mental health providers in the community

    • Drug and alcohol programs

    • Local hospitals

    • Labor and delivery/obstetric services

    • Domestic violence programs/services

    • Primary care doctors

    • Pediatric practices

    • Federal nutrition assistance programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Programs for Women, Infants, and Children

    • Breastfeeding programs and organizations

    • Housing, education, and job training

    • Early intervention programs that serve children with disabilities

    • Special education partners and community special education service providers (e.g. occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language therapists)

    • Child care partners or school systems as children transition into other settings

    • Shelters

    • Smoking cessation programs

    • English-as-a-second-language programs

    • General Educational Development testing sites

    • Local elementary schools (local education agencies)

  • work with your program’s health, nutrition, disabilities, and education coordinators;

  • be familiar with any tools your program uses to track family needs;

  • identify health education topics and connect families to information and/or services needed,

    • Well-child visits

    • Safety and injury prevention in the home and outdoors

    • Oral health

    • Nutrition

    • Daily health practices

Learn More

Several variables are considered when addressing the mental health needs of infants, toddlers, and their parents. EHS and Migrant Head Start staff learn strategies for providing quality infant mental health services. Program Performance Standards and resources are included.