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CDI offers free health-care training | Families

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CDI offers free health-care training
CDI offers free health-care training

RUSSELLVILLE, AR -- Child Development, Inc. is preparing to help families and children stay healthy, help parents know what to do when their child is sick, and help cut down on unnecessary emergency room visits.

Through the “I CAN Help My Child Stay Healthy” program, CDI is committed to providing health care training to 100 families, according to Sandra Johnson, project coordinator and the agency’s nutritionist. Head Start or Early Head Start families who are chosen for the training will learn tips and techniques from how to accurately measure medicine to how to use and read a digital thermometer.

Those who receive the training will also be given the publication “What to do when Your Child Gets Sick,” an easy-to-read and easy-to-use guide to treating illnesses and injuries – from cold and flu to hernia or a bump on the head. The guide gives basic information on what can be done at home as well as when to call the doctor or nurse or to visit the ER. Trainees will also receive thermometers, medicine droppers and other health related items for use at home.

“We are targeting 100 Head Start or Early Head Start families from all our service areas,” Johnson said. “And we hope that those 100 families will share what they have learned with their families and friends.”

Research conducted through the Central Missouri Community Action Agency, which originated the program, found that low health literacy among low-income families often led to unnecessary emergency room visits, which translated to millions of Medicaid dollars spent unnecessarily. They found that training their Head Start parents in at-home treatment of common illnesses as well as signs that professional treatment is needed not only decreased the number of ER and doctor/clinic visits, but also increased the parents’ confidence and abilities in providing for their children’s healthcare needs.

“Those are our goals, too,” Johnson added. “And we hope to have an impact on the communities.”

Johnson and other CDI staff members attended training in Albuquerque, N.M., and are working on the training plan, which includes a parent survey to be distributed to all parents of children enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start in CDI’s service areas. The survey asks about the children’s health payment source, such as ARKids, and the number of visits to doctors, clinics or ERs in the last year. Participants will be chosen based on this survey, Johnson said.

The program is provided free to parents and is possible through a grant from Johnson & Johnson/UCLA Anderson School of Management, Health Care Institute and Central Missouri Community Action Head Start.

Child Development, Inc. offers Head Start, Early Head Start, Home-Based Head Start, Migrant & Seasonal Head Start, Arkansas Better Chance and other early childhood programs in 13 counties across the state, including Arkansas, Conway, Desha, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Lonoke, Lincoln, Perry, Polk, Pope, Scott and Yell. Its goal is to provide strong, outcome oriented programs for children and their families in Arkansas. For more information, visit CDI’s web site, www.childdevinc.org, or call your local Head Start program.

Child Development Inc. is a nonprofit agency whose goal is to provide strong, effective, outcome-oriented programs for young children and their families in Arkansas. Jo Ann Williams has been executive director of the agency since 1986 and is beginning her 46th year serving Head Start families and children. CDI serves more than 2,000 children and their families in preschool programs across the state. CDI is a partner agency with United Way.