Knox County Tennessee

Home Visiting Department

The Home Visiting Department at the Knox County Health Department provides the following:

Home visiting promotes child health, safety and development, while also helping to prevent child abuse and neglect in the home. The program has been shown to be effective at helping families:

  • Improve their child’s health;
  • Improve positive parenting;
  • Reduce child maltreatment;
  • Achieve goals such as child spacing, education and employment; and
  • Connect to community Resources.

Every child will have a healthy, nurtured, safe and successful beginning.

Children’s Special Services (CSS)

The Children’s Special Services Program provides comprehensive medical care for children with physical disabilities from birth to 21 years of age. The program is coordinated through KCHD’s Home Visiting Department and provides resources for medical and non-medical services. The program may pay for the following services: diagnostic evaluation, hospitalization, rehabilitation services, pharmacy services, speech and language therapy, hearing aids, medical and surgical treatment, physical and occupational therapy, braces and artificial limbs, durable medical equipment, wheelchairs and walkers, etc.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Residency: resident of Tennessee
  • Income: 200% FPL or less
  • Age: birth to age 21
  • Diagnosis: must have eligible diagnosis


  • Assure appropriate, timely, comprehensive, quality medical services to children birth
    to age 21 who have or are at risk for special health care needs
  • Promote the well-being of children in a manner that is family centered, culturally competent and community based through service coordinators acting as liaisons for children families and providers
  • Facilitate, collaborate and form partnerships that are flexible and creative in meeting
    the unique needs of each child

Core Outcomes

  • Families of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)will partner in decision-making at all levels and will be satisfied with the services they receive
  • All CYSHCN will receive coordinated, ongoing, comprehensive care within a medical home
  • All families of CYSHCN will have adequate private and or public insurance to pay for
    the services they need
  • All Children will be screened early and continuously for special health care needs
  • Community based services for CYSHCN and their families will be organized in ways
    that families can use them easily
  • All Youth with special health care needs will receive the services necessary to make appropriate transitions to adult health care, work and independence

Help Us Grow Successfully (HUGS)

The Help Us Grow Successfully program is a targeted case management program that provides home-based intervention services to pregnant/postpartum women, children birth through the age of five (5) years and their primary caregivers. Home visitors form a unique and voluntary relationship with a family. Home visitors screen for and identify potential problems, provide education, and connect families with resources in their communities. The HUGS program seeks to prevent or reduce risks as well as promote health and wellness.

Program Goals:

  • To improve pregnancy outcomes
  • To improve maternal and child health and wellness
  • To improve child development
  • To maintain or improve family strengths

Newborn Hearing Screening Follow-Up

The newborn hearing screening program is responsible for assuring all infants born in Tennessee received a hearing screening before discharge or prior to one month of age. The 1-3-6 plan for newborn hearing program works to assure that: 
1 - All infants will be screened for hearing loss prior to discharge or before 1 month of age. 
3 - All infants who do not pass the screening will have a diagnostic audiological evaluation before 3 months of age. 
6 - All infants identified with hearing loss will receive appropriate early intervention services no later than 6 months of age.
AND - All families of children with hearing loss have access to parent support services. Hearing screening is required by Tennessee Code Annotated Title 68, Chapter 5, Part 9, Sections 901-906, Rules and Regulations 1200-15-01 (Claire’s Law, July 2008).

Services are provided by all birthing hospitals and facilities. The families of infants that are not born in a hospital can contact a hearing provider near their home using the “Pediatric Hearing Provider Directory” of audiology providers and ear, nose, and throat (ENT)/otolaryngology physicians. Most insurance covers hearing screening.

Newborn Screening Follow-Up

All infants born in Tennessee must have a newborn screening specimen submitted to the Tennessee State Laboratory to be screened for certain genetic conditions. If tests are abnormal, the Department of Health follows up with the baby’s doctor to initiate retesting, confirmation and treatment from a specialist if necessary. Early diagnosis and treatment can make the difference between a child leading a relatively normal life or having more significant developmental delays, long-term health care needs, or even death. This is a screening test that can be affected by baby's age, medical or treatment status at the time of specimen collection; the quality and quantity of the specimen or other variables and may not detect all affected infants. The possibility of false negative or false positive results must always be considered when screening newborns for metabolic disorders.

Accessing Services

All infants born in Tennessee should have the newborn screening filter paper collected prior to leaving the hospital. Tests may need to be repeated for a number of reasons including being improperly collected, the infant received a blood transfusion, the specimen was collected when the baby was less than 24 hours of age or a possible disorder is indicated. Parents can contact the baby’s doctor or the local health department to schedule follow-up testing. Tennessee has a comprehensive genetics program that provides access to genetic screening, diagnostic testing, and counseling services for individuals and families who have, or are at risk for, genetic disorders.

For Parents

Most newborns are born healthy and normal. However, there are some health problems that may not be detected on a routine exam by your baby's physician. This is why blood tests are used to screen newborns for these problems. A filter paper blood spot sample is required by state law to be submitted to the Tennessee State Laboratory for every baby born in Tennessee. A newborn baby may look perfectly healthy, but still have an inherited disease. To prevent the effects of disease, the sample should be drawn during the infant's first two to three days of life.

How and Where Your Baby is Tested?

Before your baby leaves the hospital nursery, his or her heel will be pricked and a few drops of blood will be collected. This blood specimen will be sent to the State Laboratory in Nashville for testing. The hospital will also provide you with a Parent Pamphlet giving you more details about newborn screening.

What Happens to the Extra Blood after the Test?

The extra blood is stored at the Department of Health Laboratory for one year. It is stored in case the blood is requested by you or the baby’s doctor in the future. The lab also uses it to do quality checks, to make sure the machines are working right or to evaluate new tests to help more babies in the future. Stored blood used for these reasons will have name, address and other information removed so the sample cannot be traced back to your baby.

What is the Parents' Role?

After you get home from the hospital, you may be contacted by your baby's doctor or the local health department to bring your baby in for a repeat blood sample. It is important that you follow-up quickly. If you have any concerns about the results of the screening tests, please contact your baby's health care provider.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides education and follow-up case management for children up to age 6 with elevated blood lead levels.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Prevention Program

The state of Tennessee has created a program to help families reduce the risk of losing their babies to SIDS.  The goal of the SIDS program is to reduce the number of SIDS deaths in Tennessee, and to provide bereavement support for families who have experienced the sudden, unexpected death of an infant.  The Tennessee SIDS program is also dedicated to educating professionals, parents, community agencies, clergy, law enforcement personnel, emergency responders and all other interested persons who may encounter SIDS deaths throughout the state.

Have Questions?
Call: 865-215-5555

Need to report a public
health emergency?

Call 865-215-5093

On the first Wednesday of every month, all KCHD offices and clinics are closed in the morning for staff in-service. On these days, the main location (140 Dameron Ave.) will open at 11 a.m. and the West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff) will open at 11:30 a.m.

Clinics will also open at 10:30 a.m. (Main location) and 11 a.m. (West Clinic) on the following Wednesdays: April 17 and July 17. All other offices will open at 8 a.m.