Referring Children to Healthy Start
0700-502.10 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy guide provides information on how to refer a child to Healthy Start. It describes the program and details how the program may help to meet the needs of a child and facilitate family reunification and/or family maintenance.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 09/05/12 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.


Healthy Start Services

Healthy Start provides comprehensive school-integrated services and activities to serve children and their family members in school, at home, and in the community. The goals of Healthy Start include:

  • Ensuring that each child receives the physical, emotion, and intellectual support that he/she needs to learn well.
  • Building the capacity of students and parents to be participants, leaders, and decision-makers in their communities.
  • Helping schools and other agencies that serve children and families to recognize, streamline, and integrate their programs.

Healthy Start incorporates a family-centered, multiservice assessment and intervention that enhances services to children and families. Healthy Start services may vary from school to school based on the community's needs. The following types of programs and services may be available:

  • Academic/Education
    • Services may include: tutoring, mentoring, dropout prevention, adult education, and staff training.
  • Youth Development Services
    • Services may include: tutoring, employment training, community services, recreation, and sports.
  • Family Support
    • Services may include: child protection services, parenting education, English as a Second Language (ESL) education, citizenship classes, child care services, case management, child abuse prevention services, and family advocacy services.
  • Basic Needs
    • Services may include: supplemental food, nutrition education services, clothing, shelter/housing services, transportation, and legal assistance.
  • Medical/Health Care
  • Mental Health Care and Counseling
    • Services may include: therapy support groups and substance abuse prevention.
  • Employment
    • Services may include: career counseling, job placement, and job preparation.

Connecting a Child to Healthy Start Supportive Services

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Contact the child’s local school district for participating Healthy Start schools.
    • For a list of LAUSD participating schools, see attachment.
    • Once referred, the Healthy Start Coordinator will send an enrollment form to the family or caregiver who must then approve the starting of services.
  2. Collaborate with the agencies who will be servicing the child through the Healthy Start collaborative.
    1. Determine which services from the DCFS case plan can be provided with Healthy Start.
    2. Specify length of services, occurrences, and who will follow up with progress reports.
  3. Consult with the Regional Education Consultant if the school does not have a participating Healthy Start program or if the child does not qualify for Healthy Start services.
  4. Contact the LAUSD Foster Care Unit Coordinator at (213)241-3848 if the child is in out-of-home care and does not qualify for Healthy Start, or when there is not a participating Healthy Start program with at the school.
    1. Refer the child and their family to other community resources.
    2. Contact the Foster Care Unit, as needed, for assistance with referring the child to community resources.
  5. Monitor for progress and ensure that the family is complying with the DCFS Case Plan related to the Healthy Start program.
  6. Document school-related information in the CWS/CMS Education Notebook.
  7. Document medical information in the CWS/CMS Health Notebook.
  8. Document all contacts in the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook.

Education Code (EDC) Section 8800 - 8803 – This statute is known as the Healthy Start Support Services Child Act. In part, it states that services to children and their families can be most effectively provided through consortia, which include schools, other health and human service providers, parents, and community groups. Collaboration is necessary and more effective because the goals of schools and community services are interdependent. Community-based services offer resources and competence that supplement the resources of schools.