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DHS news release

June 4, 2007

 

Media contact: Patricia Feeny 503-945-6955

Program contact: Sue Woodbury 971-673-0036

 

Oregon TANF program receives national "Friend of WIC" award


 


The National WIC Association has recognized Oregon’ s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for its efforts to help improve breastfeeding rates among women in the state’s self-sufficiency program.

 

The award is the result of a three-year partnership that began when TANF accepted an offer from the Oregon Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program to join in developing a project aimed at helping clients continue breastfeeding while working.

 

Both TANF and WIC are part of the Oregon Department of Human Services and both serve low-income women. TANF provides job counseling and temporary financial assistance while clients work to become self-sufficient. WIC provides nutrition education and breastfeeding promotion.

 

"This award recognizes not only the high rate of success Oregon has had in promoting breastfeeding, but also the importance of working collaboratively with other groups to reach and educate Oregon’s new mothers," said DHS Director Bruce Goldberg, M.D. "I’m very proud of everyone involved."

 

Breastfeeding has been shown to provide the best start for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be fed only breast milk for the first six months of life. Yet, many new mothers find that the return to work or school presents a significant barrier to continued breastfeeding.

 

"No other state has developed such a project, and one reason it is succeeding is because TANF staff were willing to take on the extra workload that was required," said Sue Woodbury, manager of the Oregon WIC program in the DHS Public Health Division.

 

Woodbury nominated TANF for the award, citing their long-term commitment to collaborating with WIC to educate clients about the importance of breastfeeding and providing them with information to help them request breastfeeding support from their employer.

 

"The response from TANF has been positive and enthusiastic, whether it’s a manager or a caseworker who deals directly with mothers," Woodbury said. "The project is a good example of how two programs can partner across organizational lines to benefit our clients. We look forward to continued collaboration, both within DHS and at the community level."

WIC is one of many public health programs within DHS that focus on prevention and helping people manage their health so they can be as productive and healthy as possible. More information about WIC can be found at

www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/wic/index.shtml and more information about TANF is at

www.oregon.gov/DHS/assistance/cash/tanf.shtml

.