Special Start

Special Start

special startSpecial Start is a collaboration between the Family Health Services Division of the Public Health Department and Children’s Hospital Oakland - Early Intervention Services. Special Start is a long-term relationship-based family support program. It is designed to address the health, developmental and social support needs of a select population of families whose babies have been hospitalized in an Alameda County neonatal intensive care nursery.

The goals of Special Start are to:

  • support at-risk, fragile infants and their families
  • address health, developmental and social needs of the infant and family
  • maximize the infant’s long-term health and developmental outcomes



  • Infants that have been hospitalized in an Alameda County Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Infants that have a minimum of two medical and two social risk factors identified by a screening form and a joint “rounds” process at major county NICUs

Note:  Infants are assigned to the program in a joint triage process with Children’s Hospital Oakland.

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