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September 12, 2018

Population Health Trust and Children’s Council of Skagit County release strategic plan for maternal and child health

When it comes to children’s healthcare in Skagit County, “Tracking down information felt like an underground network,” shared one parent in a focus group.  

“This is NOT the experience that we want newly parenting families in Skagit County to have,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director.  “We want parents to understand what resources are available to them and make it easy to find the information and support they’re interested in.”

In order to improve, the First 1,000 Days Workgroup of the Population Health Trust went to the source – parents and maternal and child health experts – to find out what challenges they faced in finding quality healthcare information and resources. The First 1,000 Days Workgroup  met from January through June of 2018, with the goal of determining clear ways to improve the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.

An analysis of the early childhood data, a gaps analysis by systems partners and the he experiences shared by a diverse group of parents, including a Spanish-speaking group of mothers, formed the basis for the First 1,000 Days Call to Action, presented to the Skagit County Board of Health on Sept. 11. The Board was asked to endorse a strategic plan that centers around the vision that “All children are healthy and have positive, responsive relationship and environments.”   

Lyndie Case of the Children’s Council said that the First 1,000 Days Call to Action is a whole community effort. “Building supportive communities and systems touches everyone, from medical providers and employers to social service agencies and local government,” Case said.   “Our goal is to work together to increase the support and commitment we make to families in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.”

Key partners in the workgroup included the Population Health Trust, Children’s Council, United Way, HeadStart/EACAP and Skagit County Public Health.  Twenty-three other agencies and organizations listed in the Call to Action report dedicated significant time, expertise and commitment to the planning efforts.

The First 1,000 Days Call to Action is posted online at www.skagitcounty.net/PHTAC.  

For questions or more details, including information about how you can be involved in improving children’s health in Skagit County, please contact Jennifer Sass Walton  at jennis@co.skagit.wa.us or 360-416-1529.