Chicago Healthy Start (HSTART)
Bureau of Maternal and Infant Health
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Program Description


Pregnant women or mothers parenting a child under the age of two.

Women must reside in the Chicago Community Areas of Near North, Near South, Near West, Douglas, Grand Boulevard or West Town


To reduce the infant mortality rate (the number of babies who die before reaching one year of age) and related health problems for both mother and baby.


Assistance in getting well child care, immunization, family planning, smoking cessation, prenatal care, social services, WIC, transportation, health education and GED classes, screening for perinatal depression.

Delivery Method

Services are provided through one of four Chicago Healthy Start Family Centers. These centers are operated by Erie Family Health Center, Winfield-Moody Health Center, West Side Future, and Henry Booth House.

Program Data

Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $1,601.4 $1,565.8 $1,430.9 $1,421.6
Number of Grantees 4 4 4 4
Number Served* 1,533 1,645 1,988 2,235

*Number served may not increase year to year due to women staying in interconceptional care for 2 years.

Program Accomplishments

The Chicago Healthy Start Initiative contributed to a 71 percent drop in the number of infant deaths and a 50 percent reduction in the infant mortality rate in its target area between 1991 and 2002. At the same time, the number of infant deaths in the City of Chicago declined by 55 percent and the infant mortality rate declined by 43 percent.