Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6.5 million awarded to pediatric and family medical practices across New York. Funding will allow 17 health centers to implement the HealthySteps program, which works to integrate a child and family development professional into pediatric and family medicine offices to help identify, monitor, and address emerging behavioral or developmental health concerns in young children.
"By ensuring medical practices receive critical funding to support the HealthySteps program, the very best services and resources will be available to help families raise their children in New York," Governor Cuomo said. "These health care facilities will be empowered to help address the social, emotional and physical well-being of children across the state, as we continue to build a healthier, stronger New York for all."
More than $6.5 million awarded to 17 medical practices throughout New York, includes funding to help support the implementation, evaluation and sustainability of the program. The awarded health practices range from federally qualified health centers and hospital-based clinics, to community health centers and private practices that serve high-need communities in both rural and urban areas. At full implementation, it is estimated that each of these practices will deliver HealthySteps services to 350 children and their families, engaging approximately 5,950 families over three years.
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "This early access to behavioral health support provides opportunities to address social-emotional well-being for the youngest of our children and at a most critical time in brain development. This program can provide guidance and support, but it goes beyond that to really educate parents on how to support their child’s development and build secure attachments. It really incorporates the entire family into the healthcare conversation."
The awarded health practices are broken down by region below:
Central New York
New York City
Western New York
Funding will allow each medical practice to create a HealthySteps specialist position and provide the training and technical assistance needed to implement the program. The specialist will work with children from birth to age five to identify emerging behavioral and developmental issues early on, prevent mental health problems through anticipatory guidance, and promote healthy life styles. The specialist will also educate families about child development, help them implement healthy parenting practices, and link children and families to behavioral or developmental specialists, and other community resources when needed.
In tandem with pediatricians and family medicine providers, this program engages both the child and family during routine early-life doctor visits and provides screening services for the entire family, including maternal depression, developmental delays, and childhood trauma that often leads to emotional or chronic medical problems later in life. These enhanced early-life visits will offer an opportunity for families to find support in an accessible and non-stigmatizing environment.
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