Did you know that there are 28 Family Support Centers (FSC) across Allegheny County that provide services to families with children under the age of six? We are proud to say that, with the help of the Family Support Center Network of Allegheny County, all 28 of the centers have taken steps to improve the health of the families they serve. We recognize those efforts as part of Live Well Allegheny. With the help of the FSC staff, we are continuing to make progress towards improving the overall health of county residents.
The improvements that the centers have made began in the winter of 2015. During the Family Support Retreat in late 2015, leadership decided to make health and wellness a priority. The Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Collaboration Committee was created to make that priority a reality. The HEAL Committee, which includes representation from Family Support Centers, the Allegheny County Health Department, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development, provides ongoing technical support and encouragement to the Family Support Center Network.
Fast forward to 2017. To date, all 28 Family Support Centers have completed the Healthy Eating and Active Living assessment. The assessment results were used as a baseline measurement for achieving best practices in health and wellness. Using those baseline measurements, each center developed goals and action steps specific to that center. The goals and action steps, that all focus on making staff and families at the centers healthier, include initiatives like offering fruit-infused water instead of soda, and identifying the portion size of food served. The centers have also taken advantage of partnerships with local organizations, like 412 Food Rescue, to improve food security for families, and have utilized the programs of national organizations like Cooking Matters to offer cooking classes.
On December 8th, the Family Support Policy Board and Live Well Allegheny held a recognition ceremony honoring the Family Support Centers for the steps taken towards improving health. During the ceremony, all the centers were recognized for their efforts by Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. Each center received a certificate and a gift bag acknowledging the work in improving the health of the families served.
Live Well Allegheny recognizes the commitment and contribution that the Family Support Center Network has made to Live Well Allegheny and to improving health and wellness in Allegheny County. The steps that the Family Support Centers have taken cannot be overstated. These efforts demonstrate a commitment to families in making the healthy choice the easy choice. It is through partnerships like the one with the Family Support Center Network that we can make the biggest impact on health in our county. We commend the Family Support Center Network for its contributions to our goal of making Allegheny County the healthiest county, and we look forward to our ongoing partnership in improving the health of all residents!