Premera's Social Impact team relies heavily on our nonprofit partners to communicate the most pressing needs in the communities we serve.
In the spirit of that partnership, our Corporate Communications team (with friends from Marketing and Healthcare Services) decided to roll up their sleeves and help put together more than 250 personal health kits for new mothers. The kits were funded through a $250,000 grant we gave to the United Way of Snohomish County to help support a new approach to their work called CORE: Creating Open Roads to Equity. It focuses on long-term solutions for the whole family, both the child and the adults together.
The items in this kit encourage attachment between mom and baby.
The kits included:
- nursing pads
- and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (offered in Spanish in the Spanish Kit)
Also included in the kit are two handouts that provide more information on attachment and bonding, and a Snohomish County health report of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's), which will give a snapshot of the importance of the 2 Generational approach the United Way and other agencies use. The 2-Generational approach, supported by the Ascend: Aspen Institute, focuses on creating opportunities and addressing the needs of both children and adults together.
Completed kits will be distributed in both Spanish and English through Providence Everett Birth Center, where 40 percent of families are on Medicaid. The YMCA and other community partners will help distribute the kits as well.
Bonding kits for new mothers
Early childhood development is one of five areas of the CORE work, focused on outcomes for both the child and the adults in the child's life. As a result, the United Way of Snohomish County formed a committee of childcare professionals and created bonding kits for new mothers in the county, of which 10 percent of the population (76,159 individuals) lived under the Federal Poverty Level in 2015. The Federal Poverty Level is $20,090 for a family of three. Today, about 6,000 families with kids 8 years or under lived below or at 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This includes more than 13,000 children between ages birth to 8.
Every child deserves to start their life destined for success. Studies show that bonding between mother and child from an early age has a profoundly positive affect on the child's well-being. This past year, Premera's Social Impact program has focused on funding behavioral health programs, paying particular attention to early childhood. The first few years of a child's life are indicative of their future success. For new moms and infants, forming a strong bond and secure attachment in the early years is crucial to a successful development of the child. Though these bonding kits are not the only solution, they represent a small step toward building a stronger community of healthy mothers and their newborn babies.
Gloris Estrella is in the Social Impact team at Premera Blue Cross. She specializes in community relations and nonprofit partnerships. You can follow her on twitter @gee_es3lla.