WeTHRIVE! re-launches child care initiative

We’re excited to announce the re-launched WeTHRIVE!℠ Child Care Initiative!

Why a re-launch?

Our previous work with child care providers throughout Hamilton County was funded by the Ohio Department of Health Maternal and Child Health grant. The recently re-launched WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative is supported by Hamilton County Public Health general funds.  

headshot of Andrea Bourgeois

“We piloted the new initiative in North College Hill and Elmwood Place in late 2021,” said Andrea Bourgeois, health educator with Hamilton County Public Health. “In February of this year we opened it up to child care providers in active WeTHRIVE! communities.”

Why child care?

Child care providers are uniquely positioned to help young children and families build habits that can have a lasting impact on their health.

“The early childhood years are crucial in developing a healthy lifestyle, especially given that children spend as much as 80 percent of their awake time in child care,” Andrea said.

Children in Ohio are at risk for overweight and obesity. Among those in grades 9-12:

  • 12.2 percent have an overweight classification
  • 16.8 percent have obesity

What does WeTHRIVE! do for child care providers?

group of young children standing on yoga mats following along with adult instructor

The WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative helps providers identify and implement strategies related to:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Parent engagement
  • Screen time
  • Oral health

Some of the benefits of participating in the initiative include:

  • Assessments to identify strengths and opportunities to improve the nutrition and physical activity environment of the center
  • Menu audits and recommendations by a registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Support to achieve the Ohio Healthy Program designation
  • Free Ohio Approved child care training hours
  • Opportunities to network with other WeTHRIVE! communities, schools, and community partners
  • Recognition through WeTHRIVE! social media, website stories, and local news

Assessments are evidence-based

Every WeTHRIVE! child care provider completes an assessment known as the NAPSACC.

NAPSACC is an evidence-based program for improving the health of young children by enhancing child care practices, policies, and environments. Providers can choose an area to focus on, such as child nutrition, oral health, physical activity, or screen time.

“Once the NAPSACC is done, a WeTHRIVE! health educator works with the child care provider to review the results, identify strategies for improvement, and create an action plan,” Andrea said.

Healthy menus

toddler girl sits at table with container of applesauce

Menu audits are another valuable part of the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative. Child care providers submit 4-week menus for yearly review by Andrea, who is WeTHRIVE!’s registered dietitian.

“I’ll make food and beverage recommendations based on best practices and government requirements for child nutrition,” Andrea said.

Ohio Healthy Programs

To be designated as an Ohio Healthy Program, child care providers must undergo training on how to create healthy habits, menus, policies, and family engagement to address childhood obesity. Any child care professional can access free online training from the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association.

Child care providers who participate in the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative have access to a free 2.5 hour in-person training session on Healthy Menus with Andrea. This one-on-one session with a registered dietitian counts toward Ohio Approved and Ohio Healthy Programs training.

First to sign on

Greater Expectations Learning Center and Kids Plus Learning Center were the first child care providers to sign on to the re-launched initiative. Waverly’s Hope Child Care and Eager Achievers Learning Academy recently joined.

“Providing healthy meals for our children is very important to us. WeTHRIVE! provides excellent resources and support systems to helps us do just that!”

Mary Land, Executive Director of Greater Expectations Learning Center

By participating in the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative, child care providers can show their commitment to creating an environment where all children can THRIVE!

For more information about the WeTHRIVE! Child Care Initiative, send a message to ContactWeThrive@hamilton-co.org.