Healthy Babies Healthy Children

Program Goals and Objectives

IHBHC is designed to ensure that all Indigenous families and their children (from prenatal to the age of six) who need assistance with physical, emotional, mental, and social issues have access to effective, consistent early intervention services. The program is voluntary and available to any family that requests the service.

The Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children program grew out of the provincial Healthy Babies Healthy Children; a legislated program introduced by the Government of Ontario in 1997.

Program Components

Preparing for Parenting and Caregiving
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Preparing for a healthy pregnancy
Prenatal Support
  • Traditional Teachings
  • Pregnancy and birth
Postpartum Support
  • Establishing contact
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Caring for infants and children
Assessing Strengths and Identifying Needs
  • Family strengths and assessment process
  • Developing service plans

Program Delivery

Client-Base services

Home Visiting

Intake and information gathering; providing family support, information and education to the family; provide post-natal contact within 72 hours of return home; recording baby’s weight.

Family Service Plan

Ongoing review of progress and support requirements of the family support plan; referring the client/family to other screening and support services.

Service Coordination

Connect the family to programs and services to support baby/child healthy development.

Participant-based services

Participant-based activities are focused on groups rather than individuals. They may be open to the community-at-large or targeted to a group of people (e.g. youth, moms, parents, grandparents) within the community.


Activities involve gathering information and developing contacts with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations.

The delivery approach of the HBHC program

Overall, the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program may differ from the provincial program delivered by the Public Health Units in the following ways:

  • The HBHC program emphasizes Indigenous approaches to programming (e.g. using traditional teachings and the inclusion of spirituality).
  • The HBHC program has a preconception component.
  • HBHC uses a process to build on family strengths; it is not focused on families in need.
  • The HBHC program can be delivered in collaboration with other Health and Social programs. This is in response to identified needs and priorities within Indigenous communities.
  • The community in the HBHC program drives information collection
  • Group activity through workshops and community events is part of the HBHC program.
The Role of the Home Visitor

Home visiting is a bridge that links the resources of the community with the safety of the home environment, empowering even isolated parents to a better future for themselves and their children. Through home visiting, families can be educated and brought up to date on new information about health, child development and school readiness.