News Flash


Posted on: September 1, 2023

San Juan Basin Public Health supports families

Baby 900 x 700

Jessica is a single, working mom who was put on bed rest in the first trimester of her pregnancy and unable to work. Newly without income, she found WIC benefits and stayed nourished throughout her pregnancy. When her son was born three months early at only 2 pounds, she acquired a medical-grade pump through WIC to jump-start her ability to feed him. In a note she wrote to one of San Juan Basin Public Health’s WIC providers, she said: “My journey wasn’t easy, but I now have a healthy, happy boy and was even able to donate an extra 4,000 ounces of breast milk because of you and the WIC program.”

High rent, temperatures and prices can be a recipe for stress on a family’s health and well-being. Fortunately, there are high-quality parent support programs in our community that offer caring and compassionate support for families to help parents keep children safe, healthy and thriving even during challenging times. The Maternal and Child Health Division of SJBPH offers three programs that can help: Women, Infants and Children Program, SafeCare Colorado and Nurse-Family Partnership. These no-cost family support programs focus on promoting positive health outcomes for families experiencing social and economic barriers to health and wellness.

The WIC program, founded in 1974, is a supplemental food program for pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five. The goal of the program is to safeguard the health of income-restricted women and young children by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education including breastfeeding support, and referrals to health and other social services. Evidence shows that mothers and children on WIC have improved health outcomes during the critical periods of pregnancy, infancy and childhood such as reducing low birth weight and premature births, anemia, and childhood obesity. Other benefits include an increase in breastfeeding initiation and duration and follow-through with well-child visits and dental appointments. WIC offerings have improved since the program began, now including organic food options and increased funds to purchase fruits and vegetables.

WIC is also about relationships. WIC staff members get to know their clients well because they often work with mothers from pregnancy to the time their child turns 5. One mom said the following about the support she received from WIC at SJBPH: “… WIC helps a lot because getting all the nutrients for yourself and your children can be hard, and it is nice to have someone you can talk to … you can make a lot of meals with the foods you get from WIC… I am thankful for the help and relationships I have had at WIC.”

Another program SJBPH offers is called SafeCare and serves families with at least one child under the age of 6. This no-cost parent support program is designed to work with the busy schedules of parents and caregivers and is proven to help parents and children build strong relationships, overcome parenting challenges, and stay safe and healthy.

Families that participate in SafeCare are assigned to a SafeCare provider from SJBPH and begin to work with parents and caregivers once a week, either in a home, a community space or through virtual visits. The SafeCare provider designs a custom program based on the interests and needs of each family. Families can participate in one or all three SafeCare topics: Parent-Child Relationship, Child Health, or Home Safety. Participating in all three topic areas usually takes four to six months in an hourlong weekly session. Statewide data for 2021 show significant positive changes for families participating in SafeCare, including an 88% decrease in the average number of home hazards, an 83% increase in mastery on knowing when to take their child to the emergency room, and over 180% increase in positive interactions between caregivers and their child or infant.

Nurse-Family Partnership or NFP, a program also offered by SJBPH, shows success at supporting a mother’s health and safety during pregnancy and early childhood. Expectant first-time mothers and parents can begin visits with an NFP nurse starting in pregnancy or before their first child turns one month old. NFP provides support up until the child’s second birthday. NFP nurses serve as guides for new parents as they navigate the social, emotional, and physical changes of pregnancy and early childhood. NFP nurses provide education in topics including health, child development, parenting, relationships, environmental safety and community resources. Visit times, location, and frequency can be adjusted as schedules change. Participants enrolling in NFP must meet income and eligibility qualifications. The partnerships developed over two years provide new parents with the confidence and tools needed to promote a healthy start for their child and the opportunity to work toward individual goals. The NFP program supports families in reaching their greatest potential.

Contact the programs: 

WIC: Jenny Howell,

SafeCare: Ann Oliver,

Nurse-Family Partnership: Danette Jackson,

For more information, visit

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