Thunder Bay District Health Unit

As a committed progressive public health agency, TBDHU is committed to improving health and reducing social inequities in health through evidence-informed practice.

www.tbdhu.com

Healthy Babies Healthy Children 

Information for Health Care Professionals and Service Providers 

Healthy Babies Healthy Children is a prevention/early intervention initiative designed to help fami-lies promote healthy child development and help their children reach their full potential. 

Introduced in 1998 by the Ontario government, Healthy Babies Healthy Children is a province – wide program funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. 

  • Pregnant women
  • Families or individuals with children under the age of 6 
  1. Screening/Assessment
    Families with children (prenatal to age 6) are screened for any risks to child development. Screening and assessment can occur: 
    • Prenatally
    • In the postpartum period
    • During early childhood 
  2. Prenatal Support Services
    Public Health Nurses and Family Home Visitors can provide one-to-one home visits. The goal is to increase accessibility to prenatal health care, education, counselling and support, and to link to com-munity resources. ​​​​​​​
  3. Postpartum Support Services
    Public Health Nurses provide telephone assessment, counseling and information on community re-sources to all families with newborns, within 48 hours of hospital discharge or home birth. Home vis-its are provided to consenting families who have been identified with possible risks to healthy child development through the HBHC screen done in hospital or by their midwife. Families may also re-quest a visit from the Public Health Nurse if they require support to help make a healthy adjustment to parenting in the first few weeks of life. ​​​​​​​
  4. HBHC Home Visiting Program
    Public Health Nurses and Family Home visitors provide home visiting to families whose children have been identified to be at risk for poor development. This service supports families who would benefit from learning more about growth and development, positive parenting and community resources. ​​​​​​​
  5. Service Coordination
    Families in the HBHC home visiting program have a designated service coordinator to ensure they re-ceive appropriate, integrated, needs-based services that build on their strengths. ​​​​​​​
  6. Referrals/Linking
    ​​​​​​​
    Families receiving HBHC home visiting services are referred to appropriate programs and services in the community. Families who do not meet the criteria for HBHC home visiting services can be re-ferred to other community programs and services. 
  • An anticipated poor birth outcome
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Premature infant
  • Multiple Births
  • Babies with physical challenge
  • Failure to thrive
  • Family stress
  • Social, geographical or cultural isolation
  • Lack of social support
  • Low income
  • Inadequate housing
  • Needing support to access education and/or employment opportunities
  • Settlement and immigration issues
  • Addictions
  • Mental health concerns
  • Health or other professionals have a concern regarding parenting or potential risk to optimal child development 
  • Pregnant women receive prenatal support (e.g. Assistance completing school and accessing affordable housing, preparing for parenthood, nutrition counseling, etc.).
  • New mothers receive education and support to encourage breastfeeding
  • Families are provided with information and ongoing support in their homes to encourage skill devel-opment and confidence in parenting
  • Children are screened for developmental milestones
  • Families are linked to community resources such as Best Start Hubs, food banks, parenting classes, community kitchens, Pro Kids, etc. 

Any professional or service provider can refer a family with the family’s consent. HBHC is a voluntary program. Once a family has been referred, the assessment process will determine the need for assis-tance, link the family with appropriate services and determine if home visiting by a Public Health Nurse and Family Home Visitor is required. 

Fair Start Program

The Fair Start program is a partnership between many community agencies but staff are located at the HU.

Fair Start is a developmental screening program for children 18 months to school age that:

  • Looks at healthy child development in areas of: 
    • Speech and Language Development 
    • Early Literacy Skills 
    • Fine and Gross Motor Skills 
    • Nutrition 
    • Social and Self-Help Behaviours 
  • Links parents and caregivers with the many children’s services that are available free in our communities. 
  • Is made up of community organizations working together to improve the lives of children in our communities. 

Fair Start Screening

Current research shows that about 1 in 8 children experience some kind of developmental de-lay. With early identification, a child can receive the help they need to develop to their fullest potential. 

Screenings are free and for every child and are available at a variety of locations: 

  • Best Start Hubs and Satellites 
  • Public Libraries 
  • Health Centre 
  • School and Child Care Programs 
Visit www.fairstart.ca for more information - OR - Call (807) 625-8817

Health Unit Breastfeeding Clinic 

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit Breastfeeding Clinic helps mothers and babies who are ex-periencing problems or need more information about breastfeeding. 

Teaching

From time to time, nurses, midwifery, medical and nursing students attend the Breastfeeding Clinic to learn skills in helping mother’s breastfeed. 

Appointments

  • Private appointments are booked for each mother and baby.
  • Referrals can be made by yourself, your doctor, midwife or nurse, or other individual with your permission. 
  • Appointments take about 1 hour. They will take a history and watch your baby breastfeed.
  • They offer practical advice and work with you to develop a plan to solve your breastfeeding problems.
  • Re-turn appointments are sometimes needed. 
  • The clinic is staffed by Public Health Nurses who are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, or have special training in breastfeeding. 
  • Home visits are available if you are unable to attend the Breastfeeding Clinic. 
  • Services are confidential and free of charge. 

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