FAYETTEVILLE: County restarts program to help with infant health - WNCN: News, Weather

Cumberland Co. restarts program to help with infant health

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Items on a shelf at the Cumberland County Health Department's "Baby Store" Items on a shelf at the Cumberland County Health Department's "Baby Store"

A new grant means Cumberland County can once again run a program that helps mothers have healthier babies.

The Baby Store at the Cumberland County Department of Public Health opened on Monday for the first time since 2011. The store is in Suite 2200 on the second floor of the Public Health Center at 1235 Ramsey St. Normal operating hours will be Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Baby Store is an incentive program that awards "Baby Bucks" to patients who attend scheduled clinic appointments and participate in educational programs designed to reduce infant mortality and increase safe parenting. The store will primarily serve low-income clients ages 18 to 44 living in Cumberland County.

"We're there to kind of give them an idea of what things mothers do have within the home, and also within our classes we teach them the things that get them prepared to become mothers and new families," said Maternity Health Educator Kassie Howard.

The Baby Store project was founded in 2010, but was forced to close in 2011 because funding ended. The health department received a $5,000 grant last year from the Dr. Ann F. Wolfe Endowment for Child Health and Infant Mortality to help re-open the store.

"We encourage clients to make appointments and attend classes to prepare them for parenthood and the birth of their child," said Howard, who will manage the Baby Store Project. "Baby Bucks will be distributed so they can purchase items in the baby store during hours of operation."

The Health Education section; Maternity Clinic; and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Services will distribute the bucks. Patients can redeem them in the Baby Store for items such as diapers, bottles, bibs, pacifiers, lotions, powder, diaper bag, clothing and safety gear. The items are designed to supplement the health services provided by the immunization, preventive, maternal and child health programs. 

Cumberland County has an infant mortality rate of 7.8 per 1,000 live births, slightly above the state average of 7.4.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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