Addressing Food Insecurity Among Young Children During the Pandemic: Innovations from Vermont and Washington State

Originally published on Center for Health Care Strategies.

III. Vermont’s Statewide Approach to Hunger Screening: Lessons from the Pandemic

Speaker: Beverly Boget, Director of Early Childhood, Health Care, Integration, Let’s Grow Kids, Tanya Lachapelle, Community and Program Supports Specialist, Let’s Grow Kids, and Lauren Smith, Help Me Grow Coordinator, VT Department of Health

The Vermont team discussed how they expanded early childhood hunger screenings by: (1) piloting the Hunger Vital Signs tool with early care and learning partners; (2) framing all screenings from a resiliency perspective; and (3) educating health providers, as well as early care and learning practitioners, on the Help Me Grow referral system. The team also shared how the pandemic has amplified the importance of early childhood to legislators, resulting in policies and funding opportunities that helped scale food security, and developmental and other social determinant of health screenings and referrals to more young children and families.