Opioid and substance misuse disorder.
VHSA is committed to child health and family wellness.
The Vermont Head Start grantees and their state partners joined the Office of Head Start, Region I New England, and National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness for a summit on the opioid crisis and substance use disorders.
The Head Start grantees and partners discussed the many dimensions of substance misuse such as:
- What are the opioid and substance misuse disorder issues?
- How substance misuse impacts child care and home visiting programs, staff and parents?
- How can the state and Head Start support young children when an adult in the family has a substance misuse disorder?
- What are the elements of successful community programs?
- What are some effective strategies for supporting young children, families, programs, and communities that everyone can agree to use?
For more information about the steps Head Start Programs are taking to address the impact, review the Opioid Strategies document.
Oral health promotes learning.
VHSA promotes health, nutrition, oral health, and mental health for young children and their families. We partner with national, state, and local organizations like the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation. The NE Delta Dental Foundation has funded Head Start programs for many years. All seven Head Start programs participate in hiring a Tooth Tutor who is a local dental hygienist. The Tooth Tutor helps a family find a dental home for their child. The Tooth Tutor also teaches children about healthy habits for healthy teeth. Children do better in school by preventing tooth decay. Children are absent less and ready to learn if their mouth doesn’t hurt.
Parents please check out the brochure “Give Their Smiles a Head Start”. It highlights what parents can do for good oral health care.
Please watch this video for more on the Head Start Tooth Tutor Program.
Tobacco prevention and help to quit smoking
Vermont’s Head Start and Early Head Start Programs have partnered for years with the Vermont Department of Health and the Legacy Foundation that became the Truth Initiative. We educate family members and help with referrals to quit resources when a parent that smokes is ready to try to quit. The Head Start staff help promote smoke -free housing to reduce the exposure of young children to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
The data collected from the Head Start programs in past years shows families have reduced exposure to second and third hand smoke. Almost 87% of families reported they did not allow smoking in the home. However, the results of surveys to family members also recommend help to refer parents to free cessation services. Among parents surveyed about one in three smoke cigarettes every day. Almost one in four had tried using an electronic cigarette.
A new concern is the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) that are mistaken as safer. For more information about tobacco impacts and smoke free housing resources visit healthvermont.gov.
For information about COVID-19 and Head Start Efforts for health and safety of children and families visit our COVID Resource or staff resources.