HealthySteps, a program of ZERO TO THREE, is an evidence-based, team-based pediatric primary care program that promotes the health, well-being and school readiness of babies and toddlers, with an emphasis on families living in low-income communities.
Babies’ brains grow faster from ages 0-3 than any point in life, and pediatric primary care is a trusted source of information for parents during these critical years. Yet, pediatric primary care physicians have an impossibly long list of services to provide during a well-child visit that can last just 15 minutes. HealthySteps provides tailored support for common and complex concerns that physicians often lack time to address, such as: behavior, sleep, feeding, attachment, parental depression, social determinants of health, and adapting to life with a baby or toddler. The entire practice works together to implement the HealthySteps model, with leadership from a Physician Champion and a child development professional (known as a HealthySteps Specialist) integrated into the primary care team. HealthySteps Specialists connect with families and guide them during and between well-child visits.
As of 2022, there were more than 230 HealthySteps sites in 24 states and Washington, DC, reaching more than 360,000 children. HealthySteps aims to reach 1 million children across the country by 2032. Research shows children who participate in HealthySteps are more likely to attend recommended well-child visits and receive timely screenings and vaccinations. Their parents are more likely to receive information on community resources and services; provide infants with age-appropriate nutrition; adhere to child safety guidelines; use positive parenting strategies; and engage in early literacy-enhancing practices with their children. And HealthySteps improves provider experiences, with physicians reporting that the model fosters a team-based approach to care and enhances their ability to effectively meet the needs of the children and families they serve.