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MCHC was created to give all children in Chester County the opportunity to start healthy, stay healthy and succeed in school. All of our programs target low-income families, and seek to identify their unmet needs and help them become healthier and stronger. Our flagship program, Healthy Start, provides home visiting support to pregnant and parenting women, with the goal of helping them have safe deliveries and healthy babies. MCHC operates a countywide Family Benefits Program, helping families who are having trouble accessing health insurance or food to enroll into programs such as Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP (food stamps). MCHC's Kennett Square Family Center helps families in southern Chester County prepare their children for entry into kindergarten.
An independent study of the first fourteen years of Healthy Start program results compared birth outcomes experienced among women in the communities we serve who were enrolled in Healthy Start with birth outcomes experienced by women in the same communities who were not enrolled in the program. The study demonstrated a significant improvement in birth outcomes experienced by women who enrolled in Healthy Start, and the improvement was especially dramatic for African American and Hispanic women. During the period 1996-2009, African American women living in our Healthy Start communities had low birth weight babies at a rate of 11.9%, but the African American women in those communities who were Healthy Start participants had a rate of 10%. Results similarly affected outcomes for Hispanic infants. Of Hispanic infants born in our communities, 7.9% were born at low weight, while 4.8% of Hispanic Healthy Start babies were born at low weight.
- LeeAnn Riloff
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