Family Health Programs & Services

The Family Health Programs & Services engages in many projects and activities designed to improve the quality of public health programs that serve families. Learn about our programs and outreach efforts around family health below.

Programs & Services for Everyone!

Family Health Programs at a glance. (click image to enlarge.)

Universal Newborn Home Visiting Program

Offers support to all with newborns during the first few weeks of life.

Baby Steps to Bright Futures

The Baby Steps to Bright Futures program is a voluntary universal newborn home visiting program. It includes three (3) home visits and one (1) phone visit. It is designed to serve Moms, Dads, Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, Grandparents...Families!⬆

A health professional visits caregivers and newborns right within the comfort of your home. Health professionals are Nurses, Health Educators and/or Certified Lactation Consultants who understand the health needs of you and your newborn.

For more information or for an appointment, call 518-873-3500

More about Baby Steps to Bright Futures. (click image to enlarge.)

Breast/chest Feeding Support Program

We support breast/chestfeeding as the #1 choice for newborn and infant nutrition!  

The advantages of human milk to infants

cannot be matched by any other form of feeding. Human milk provides unique nutrients and antibodies that help protect babies from illnesses/diseases such as ear infections, lower respiratory infections, allergies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), obesity, and diabetes. Breast/chestfeeding benefits parents too! Parents who breast/chestfeed have less bleeding after birth and parents who breast/chestfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.⬆

Join our breast/chest feeding group! Little Feeders Circle of Support
Bring your little ones, meet other parents, and engage in breastfeeding education and peer support. Group is led by a Certified Lactation Counselor! For questions or additional information call us at 518-873-3500
Lactation (breast/chestfeeding) Counseling

We have Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) available to work with all families -regardless of income – during all stages of lactation to assist families through their feeding journey. The benefits to babies, moms and families are endless and we are committed to providing this support, either through in-person visits or by phone. Any provider or agency can refer, as well as moms themselves!  Call 873-3500 to ask for this service or make an appointment.

Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Connection

The WIC Program can connect WIC participants with a Peer Counselor.  Peer counselors have breastfed at least one infant and received special training from WIC on how to provide breastfeeding support. Call 518-873-3500 for more information.

Breast Pump Availability

Most insurance companies cover the cost of a breast pump. Call your insurance company directly to determine what pumps are available. The WIC Program can also issue personal use breast pumps or loan out hospital-grade breast pumps – at no charge! – to WIC participants.  Call 518-873-3560 for more information.


Car Seat Program

Car seats are also available at no cost to low-income and other qualifying families that meet criteria after a car seat fitting. 


Essex County Health Department has certified car seat technicians who can check to see if your child’s car seat is installed properly and securely. This service is available to everyone regardless of income! Call us at 518-873-3500 to schedule an appointment⬆

NYS Car Seat Laws by Ages

Child safety seats and child restraint systems are required in New York State – it's the law.
• All children under the age of 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat
• All children under the age of 4 ride in child safety seats
• All children ride in child restraint systems until their 8th birthday.

For questions or additional information call 518-873-3500

Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Lead is harmful to children when it gets into their bodies.

About Lead Poisoning

Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the most likely sources of lead exposure for our children. Houses built before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint.  The deterioration of this paint into chips or dust that are ingested (swallowed) or inhaled (breathed in) by children puts them at risk for lead poisoning. ⬆

Test to Know...

Lead can cause developmental delays, learning difficulties and more health problems. Test to know! At your 1 year & 2 year well-child visits, have your infant/child tested for lead. If your child tests high for lead, we will work with families to come up with a plan to remove the sources of lead exposure.

For lead screening and testing information, call 518-873-3500

Lead Testing

Lead testing should be done on:

  • All children by their 1st birthday and again when they are 2 years of age;
  • Children attending preschool and child care programs; &
  • Pregnant women.

If not detected early, children with high lead levels in their bodies can suffer from mental, physical, developmental and behavioral changes and delays including lower IQ, kidney damage, hearing loss, growth problems and anemia.

Lead testing is available through your pediatrician or doctor.  We also provide lead screening at our immunization and some WIC clinics.  Call 873-3500 for an appointment and more information.

Endyne Inc., will test your water for lead for free! Simply contact their Plattsburgh Office at Hours: Mon-Fri, 8-4:30 Phone: (518) 563-1720

Who's at risk for lead poisoning and what are the symptoms?

Children under 6 years of age are at increased risk because they are growing so rapidly and most likely to put things in their mouths as they explore their world.

Lead poisoning can happen without any obvious symptoms.  But some people with lead poisoning experience:

  • Headaches;
  • Muscle and joint weakness and pain;
  • Excessive tiredness;
  • Loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting & constipation; and
  • Metallic taste in mouth.
Additional Resources

Cornell Cooperative Extension 8487 U.S. Route 9, Lewis NY 12950, Phone Number 518-962-4810. They will perform Lead testing on soil samples for $12. 

NYSDOH Lead Poisoning Prevention Page

CDC’s Lead Poison Prevention Page

Lead Tips for Contractors

US Consumer Product Commission

Our Required Activities

As a local health department we are required to conduct a lead poisoning prevention program to prevent & reduce elevated blood lead levels in children and pregnant women by:

  • identifying & targeting prevention activities at locations where lead poisoning may occur;
  • educating the community about the dangers of lead toxicity;
  •  providing or arranging lead screening for children;
  • providing follow-up as needed for children with elevated blood lead levels.

Parents and providers may refer children to any of our programs if a delay in development is suspected for any of the children’s development programs below.  Call 518-873-3500

Early Intervention Program: Birth to age 3

Program helps children who are delayed in their development or have a diagnosed disability. ⬆

Areas of delay may be in one or more area:

Physical development – including hearing and vision
Learning or cognitive development
Speech or language development
Social or emotional development
Self-help skills.

Delay criteria is determined by evaluation using New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidelines or a diagnosis included in a NYSDOH list.

Preschool Program: Ages 3 - 5 years

Helps preschool aged children who may have been behind in: talking, social skills, school readiness or physical or behavioral challenges. ⬆

If your preschool child received early intervention services [as an infant or toddler up to age three and may still need special education services] your Service Coordinator will help you with transition planning and making a referral to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

If your preschool child did not receive early intervention services but has some delays such as difficulty in talking, moving around, thinking, learning or is facing physical or behavioral challenges — you, or professionals who know your child, may make a referral to the chairperson of your school district's Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) who will assist you in completing the referral process.

Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program

Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program

Helps children who have an illness or condition for which they need extra health care and support services. ⬆

Children served by the CYSHCN Program have an illness or condition for which they need extra health care and support services. These children might have a serious or long-lasting:

Physical condition,
Intellectual or developmental disability, and/or
Behavioral or emotional condition.

Conditions include but not limited to ADD or ADHD, allergies, anxiety, arthritis/joint problems, asthma, autism or autism spectrum disorder, behavioral/conduct problem, blood disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis. 

For more information and eligibility requirements for any of the above programs, visit the Children’s Services Page
Women, Infants & Children

WIC is the nation's most successful and cost-effective public health nutrition program. We provide wholesome food, nutrition education, and community support for income eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum, infants and children up to five years old.  

The program provides a card with benefits (eWIC card) for WIC approved foods, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support and health referrals to families. ⬆

You may qualify for WIC!

You are eligible for the WIC program if: 

1.  You are a NYS resident who is a pregnant woman of any age, an infant or child up to 5 years of age, a mother of a baby that is up to six months of age, or a breastfeeding mother of a baby that is up to 12 months of age; and 

2.  You meet income eligibility guidelines OR are receiving benefits from Food Stamps, Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). 

For more information and eligibility requirements for the WIC program, visit the Women, Infants & Children page.

Community Based Programs

Supporting Healthy Families will be offered Thursdays in March from 11:00am – Noon.  Register by March 1st. 

Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance

ADK Basics – 5 five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life.

NYSDOH Required Activities as a Local Health Department


Our Family Health program includes

✅ Maternal and Infant Health

✅ Child Health

✅ Reproductive Health

and is designed to

  1. Improve the health of people under 21, including children with special health care needs;
  2. Increase the proportion of people under 21 who receive comprehensive primary & preventive care;
  3. Improve birth outcomes, decrease maternal & infant disease, and increase the proportion of women who receive early pregnancy and post-delivery care including referral to support services;
  4. Decrease unintended pregnancies and STDs, and improve access to family planning and comprehensive reproductive care.

Our required activities include:

✅ education campaigns;

✅ information & referral for women and families;

✅ outreach for health and human service providers;

✅ promoting policy, environment and systems changes; and

✅ assistance with health insurance enrollment and accessing comprehensive health care services.

 For more information about our services call (518) 873-3500.