Credit: HealthySteps, ZEROTOTHREE

Credit: HealthySteps, ZEROTOTHREE


Through a partnership between the Turrell Fund, The Nicholson Foundation, and the Burke Foundation, the ZERO TO THREE program HealthySteps will be implemented at three pilot pediatric primary care sites in the Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) network. Each practice will benefit underserved families with children under age four by connecting them to resources for assistance with:

  • Mental health
  • Domestic violence
  • Food and housing issues

As well as common challenges, such as:

  • Feeding
  • Behavior
  • Sleep
  • Adapting to life with a baby or young child


The HealthySteps program is an organized, integrated pediatric care model.

Like many integrated care programs, HealthySteps is multidisciplinary and seeks to combine:

  • Pediatric medical care
  • Behavioral health care
  • Early education services
  • Family support/education services

All intended to focus on the needs of children from birth to age three and their families. Funding supports the addition of a full-time clinical social worker trained in the HealthySteps model as well as two HealthySteps specialists.


A 2003 HealthySteps model evaluation studied 15 clinics serving 5,500+ children and families. By age two, HealthySteps children were twice as likely as children in the control group to make timely well-child visits and receive recommended vaccinations and visited the emergency room 23% less frequently for injuries.  In addition, HealthySteps parents were:

  • Nine times more likely than those in the control group to have discussed age-appropriate, preventive topics with clinic professionals;
  • Less likely to have used severe discipline such as a slap in the face or spanking with an object;
  • Given 25% more community resource information;
  • Twice as satisfied with their pediatric care and more likely to remain at that practice.

Additional Strategies

Partnering with Seton Hall University Law School to research potential payment streams that will sustain and expand the delivery of the HealthySteps model in NJ.

Participating on different work groups and meetings with NJ early childhood advocates and organizations to discuss opportunities to promote the integrated care model.

Developing proposals and planning discussion with NJ Medicaid regarding billing and coding avenues for reimbursement of HealthySteps services to specialists.

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