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Public Health - News

Posted on: January 18, 2019

JCPH launches Healthy Start at Home program to help more families

Healthy Start at Home logo

Jefferson County, Colo. — Becoming a mother is a stressful time. Between doctor’s appointments, changing health needs and the major shift in lifestyle that a baby brings, moms-to-be often need extra support without having to do extra legwork. A new program at Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) called Healthy Start at Home aims to fill that need for pregnant women in Jefferson County. 

Healthy Start at Home, the new evolution and expansion of the former Prenatal Plus program in Jefferson County, is open to all pregnant women in the county. This free program offers in-home visits from a nurse throughout pregnancy and the first two months after birth, with the option to extend visits through the baby’s first birthday. 

While JCPH offered similar services through Prenatal Plus since 1996, there were a number of requirements women had to meet to qualify. Recognizing the tremendous need for these services for all members of the community, JCPH Healthy Start at Home staff opened the program up for all pregnant individuals to allow everyone to benefit. 

“When we started Prenatal Plus more than 20 years ago, we wanted to serve women in our community we knew were in need,” said Melissa Palay, Associate Director of Family Services at JCPH. “Now, with the support of the administration at JCPH and Jefferson County, we can help so many more babies, moms and families get off to a good start.” 

Healthy Start at Home nurses offer confidential services and advice on a variety of topics, including questions about pregnancy; labor and delivery; breastfeeding; baby’s health, growth and development; health care provider visits; tobacco use; healthy eating; how to care for baby; a safe place to stay; stress and depression; birth control methods; and personal problems and other things important to the mother, her family and her baby. Nurses can also provide referrals to community resources such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC). 

A former client of Healthy Start at Home, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Healthy Start at Home was with me during one of the most difficult times of my life. Their help and caring was one of the only reasons I made it through.”

Visits with the registered nurse are available in the home, or other space in which she feels safe, or in our office in Lakewood at 645 Parfet St. 

Healthy Start at Home is one of several programs offered by JCPH in which a qualified nursing professional offers family services in the home to help improve health and lessen the burden of in-office visits to the public health clinic. These nurse home visitation programs are:

  • Nurse-Family Partnership: If you are pregnant with your first baby, or your first child is less than one month old, you can enroll in Nurse-Family Partnership and have your own nurse visit you in your home or another location until your baby turns two years old. In Colorado, this program is free, voluntary and open to any woman eligible for WIC or Medicaid even if you don’t use those services.
  • Human Services-Public Health Collaboration: This program is a voluntary program for any family referred to JCPH from the Jefferson County Human Services Department. Nurses offer parenting support, stress management tools and information regarding nutrition, feeding and care of children, birth control and behavioral issues. Nurses can offer support to moms, dads, grandparents and other caregivers and provide services for, on average 4-7 months. 
  • Health Care Program for Children and Youth with Special Needs (HCP): HCP is a care-coordination program, primarily, but services offered include home visits. The program provides in-depth, one-on-one care coordination for families of children (birth to 21 years) who have special health care needs. Examples of care coordination activities include assistance with identifying local services, finding insurance or other financial resources and supporting important transitions such as from hospital to home or from child to adult care. Care Coordinators work as a team to advocate for the child, identify and prioritize needs and develop a plan to achieve goals.

“Nurse home visitation programs are one of the many ways JCPH reaches into our community to make sure everyone who needs help receives it in a way that makes sense for their lives,” said Dr. Margaret Huffman, Director of Community Health Services at Jefferson County Public Health. “By bringing people one-on-one care that is specialized to their needs, we can not only create healthier individuals and families, but a healthier Jeffco.”

For more information on any of the programs listed above, or to request a nurse, please visit, call 303-232-6301 or email

About Jefferson County Public Health

Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan through prevention, education and partnerships for all people. To learn more about JCPH, visit You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.

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