Death Knoll for Hawaii Healthy Start Program
The Healthy Start Program began in July 1985 as a child abuse prevention program in Hawaii. It gasped its last breath last month (September2009) and the doors shut on employees adding to the high unemployment market, however, the at-risk children lost much more.
Beginning at one location in 1985 in Oahu, Healthy Start was developed to support at risk families with newborns and to promote healthy communities. The program went statewide in 2001 but it didn’t last to see its statewide 10th anniversary. Local children who need assessments and evaluations to identify developmental delays in speech, physical, cognitive abilities, social emotional and adaptive skills have been moved aside to balance a budget that adults have mismanaged.
According to the Hawaii State Department of Health’s website there are two most notable components of the Healthy Start Program - 1) early intervention and reducing the risk of maltreatment (developmental delays) of children and 2) enhancing positive parenting skills. The services also provide linkages to needed community resources. In addition it is part of Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Anyone wondering where the federal money for the IDEA Program in Hawaii disappeared to?
The poorest and most defenseless people on earth are children and they continue to be at the forefront of program cuts and it is adults who make these “unspeakable” decisions that impact on the children. The importance of early intervention in detecting developmental delays is a key element in reducing a myriad of medical problems that occur in the growth cycle from child to adult. The health and well being of children should be at the forefront of adult decisions.
Healthy Start Programs are about – early intervention – identifying problems before a child gets too old to treat or identify developmental delays. Programs for the mentally ill and the disabled should come off the chopping block as politicians all over the country scramble to balance unsound budgets. The vulnerable don’t have a voice in the ivory tower so someone must be their voice. The Healthy Start Program in Hawaii went down under the budget ax without a whimper from parents and the concerned citizens.
So much for President Obama's idea to make health care accessible for all citizens. It is looking like a a pipe dream, in my opinion, and while Obama is living his own fantasy; ordinary citizens, the homeless, the mentally ill and the children are still feeling the sting of hopelessness and helplessness.
Add to this mixture of misery is the the impact of the non cooperation between the Republicans and Democrats. It is having a devastating impact on their constituents. Together the parties are creating an America for the rich and a hell on earth for the poor and middle class.
What if? Politicians instead of cutting health programs for the poor, dismantling local governments with employee furloughs and early layoffs come up with some creative ideas to generate revenue, create new jobs and design ways to build communities so all citizens will have a better quality of life.
What do you think? Is this another pipe dream – what if we had a proactive politician who develops positive growth ideas to keep America strong and it's citizens engaged, especially when the going gets rough?