Nutrition Education a Strength During Hamilton Center's Early Head Start Audit - December 21, 2010

The Administration for Children and Families, part of the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services, recently conducted an on-site monitoring review of the Hamilton Center, Inc. Early Head Start Program (EHS).

Early Head Start is designed to provide early support to families of infants and toddlers, support which will enhance the child's development through healthy beginnings and the continuity of responsive and caring relationships. Families seeking enrollment must meet federal poverty guidelines and may be enrolled when the mother is pregnant or the child is between birth and three years of age. Early Head Start offers a variety of activities for children and parents in both the home and community.

During the audit, one area of strength that was recognized was a collaboration with Indiana State University's Nutrition Department. In the past, recognizing nutrition education for parents was a weakness in the program, so a new collaboration began between EHS and ISU Nutrition. The EHS program provided a venue for nutrition students to gain practical community nutrition experience, and the EHS program benefited by having custom educational flyers designed by the students to teach parents about food and nutrition. In addition, students gained additional practical experience measuring heights and weights of EHS participants and charted the results on a custom-designed form created to teach parents about the significance of these screens and how to use the information.

According the audit findings, "The collaboration with Indiana State University's Nutrition Program was new this school year. The Early Head Start Program was committed to finding new and inventive ways to build upon this foundation to continue helping parents bridge the gap between good nutrition and healthy, happy and productive children. This partnership strengthened EHS's connection to the community as well as its ability to deliver appropriate nutrition information to EHS parents."

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