Program Details

Healthy Parents & Babies is an Early Head Start program that offers wraparound support and services to pregnant women, young parents and children birth-through-age 3 in Chicago.

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Services to Pregnant Women

Healthy Parents & Babies pairs expecting mothers with doulas who provide coaching during pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of life.

Our doulas help:

  • Develop healthy prenatal routines
  • Prepare for a successful pregnancy and labor and delivery
  • Establish strong attachments between you and your baby

Once your baby is born, a transition from doula to home visitor helps your family continue building a strong relationship with your child and creates a safe and stimulating home environment.

At-Home Visits With Families

Home visitors from the Healthy Parents & Babies program help your family build a foundation for success through individual home visits centered around your child’s development. This strong foundation provides a safe and nurturing environment for young children to develop essential academic and social and emotional skills that will prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

Our home visitors help:

  • Provide weekly 90-minute home visits, at home or in the community, with individualize lesson plans specifically for families
  • Offer parents educational activities that help establish learning habits to stimulate their child’s brain development
  • Help develop healthy eating routines for families
  • Ensure families are connected to health care resources and other supports

Community Resources

In addition to doula and home visiting services, Healthy Parents & Babies provides the following supplemental supports to families:

  • Prenatal group and parent meetings/trainings
  • Events to socialize and interact with other children and parents
  • Literacy events
  • Male involvement groups
  • Limited transportation assistance
  • Services for children with special needs

Healthy Parents & Babies is an inclusive environment that provides support to families navigating the process of obtaining early intervention for children with special needs.

We serve children, prenatally through birth to age 3, and their families. Women must be pregnant to enter the program but can be of any age and any stage of pregnancy. Program participation is not limited to first-time mothers or first-time participants in the program, but participants must meet Early Head Start income eligibility guidelines.

Baby boy laying on mothers chest

Program Eligibility

We serve children, prenatally through birth to age 3, and their families. Women must be pregnant to enter the program but can be of any age and any stage of pregnancy. Program participation is not limited to first-time mothers or first-time participants in the program, but participants must meet Early Head Start income eligibility guidelines.

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Young children doing activity in classroomIn addition to providing our own Head Start and Early Head Start programs, Start Early partners with local community-based agencies to deliver comprehensive supports—including early learning, nutrition, family services, health services and wellness services—that address the immediate needs of families, while also helping them plan for future success.

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Our community-based agencies offer children and families:

  • Social and emotional learning: A safe and nurturing early learning environment that promotes cooperation, collaboration, and social development in children.
  • Family support services: An assigned family support specialist who assists you with identifying and accessing medical and dental homes, ensuring your child is up-to-date on their health and immunization requirements, developing parent-child goals and providing you community resources and referrals to support your goals.
  • Diverse learner assistance and support: Guidance for navigating the eligibility requirements for Early Intervention in the Chicago Public Schools.
  • Leadership development and engagement: Opportunities to take on leadership roles in Parent Committees and a Policy Council.

Start Early Head Start Annual Reports

We are proud to share the tremendous progress we have made over the years thanks to dedicated early learning champions like you.

Our Directly Operated & Delegate Programs

As a federal Head Start grantee, Start Early directly operates and partners with the following community-based agencies to deliver quality early learning and care in Chicago, Suburban Cook County and Waukegan Township.

Educare Chicago was founded by Start Early in 2000 as an innovative early learning program serving infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families on Chicago’s South Side.

Educare pairs the latest research with intensive family engagement to promote school readiness and help families work towards their goals. A pioneer and innovator in early childhood education from the very beginning, Educare Chicago has inspired the development of the Educare Learning Network, a nationwide network of birth-to-age 5 schools.

Visit EducareChicago.org