County shows concern for family and parenting issuesThe results of a community health survey sent to random residents throughout Goodhue County have been collected, and parenting issues stole the top spot for concern.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
The results of a community health survey sent to random residents throughout Goodhue County have been collected, and parenting issues stole the top spot for concern.
A Citizen Advisory Group for the county has been working since last summer to develop surveys, assessments and statistics regarding areas of community health that could be improved. After getting input from citizens, the group became well aware that more focus needs to be put on parenting and family matters.
“Parental involvement throughout a child’s life can establish a strong foundation for the child’s future health, affecting most of the other priorities that were identified,” CAG member Pam Horlitz said.
Completing the top 10 list of priorities, in order, were: mental health, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, economic health, chemical health, driving behaviors, transportation options, obesity and health insurance concerns.
As Goodhue County continues to look for ways to tackle the important issues, Susan Brace-Adkins of Goodhue County Health and Human Services said she’s glad citizens are showing they understand where solutions can be found — prevention.
“When we started talking about those issues, it was really, ‘How do we stop those things from happening?’” Brace-Adkins said.
She said that by helping moms through their pregnancies, supporting infants after they’re born and continuing the support as children age, problems like obesity, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise and chemical abuse can be much more easily avoided.
“Once you have healthy children established from the beginning, it just makes it so much better down the line,” Brace-Adkins said.
“It was really gratifying to see that people are thinking upstream and really saying, ‘What can we do to prevent these things from happening?’” she added.
With the Citizen Advisory Group’s work finished, Health and Human Services will eventually move into developing a Community Health Improvement Plan or CHIP.
“It’s going to be community-driven and we’ll be looking for external partners … that have expertise in those particular areas,” Brace-Adkins said.
For the next few months, however, the department will be creating a strategic plan to address goals within the county agency and devise strategies for years to come.
“Then we can take the community health assessment and strategic plan and bring those to the CHIP partners,” Brace-Adkins explained, “and really talk about ‘Where do we go?’ and ‘What kind of evidence-based programs, as well as other policies, can we start working on that will help families and children in the end?’”