• BECC activities
  • BECC activities
  • BECC activities
  • BECC activities
  • BECC activities
  • BECC activities
  • BECC activities
  • BECC activities

Our Mission: To ensure that all Branford Children, birth through age eight years, are happy, healthy, safe, and successful, with a love of learning in school and in life. YouTube CLICK HERE TO VISIT

Health and Happiness

Health is vital to the growth and development of a child. A child who is healthy, both emotionally and physically, will be a better student and have a better chance of leading a successful life. To be in a position to succeed we must ensure that each child has a healthy advantage.

Headline Indicator: The % of Branford children who exceed recommended BMI.

Childhood obesity ranks as one the most important health concerns of the 21st century.

Sedentary lifestyles are a major factor in childhood obesity in the United States. One measure one can look at to approximate the sedentary child is their physical fitness. Nutrition is another direct factor that can contribute to a child's disproportionate weight.

We have focused our strategies in two major areas; increasing physical activity and improving nutrition in children.

An important part of BECC's work is an additional strategy: Increase awareness and accessibility to healthcare providers is demonstrated by the production of the KidDirectory, Family Corner at the Blackstone Library, our weekly newsletter- the BUZZ, our website and blog on the Branford Patch.

Headline Indicator: The % of Branford children who enter Kindergarten without proper dental care.

According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood disease in America. Over 12 million children have oral health problems that impact their abilities to eat, sleep, play, and learn. More than 16 million children lack access to quality dental care and youth lose more than 51 million school hours a year due to dental pain. Dental problems are the #1 reason for trips to the emergency room.

The BECC, in coordination with the East Shore Health District, Branford Cares, the Branford Family Resource Center, School-Based Health Clinics of the Branford Public Schools and local dentists and oral health care providers, has resolved to improve the oral health of the Branford community. We have determined various strategies in resolving the perceived community health concern.
Through this community partnership the community has begun in earnest The Branford Healthy Smiles Initiative. The BECC and The East Shore
District Health Department worked together to fund a community survey from June 15 through Sept. 29th, 2013 to establish a baseline of our community dental needs.

The Branford Healthy Smiles Dental Initiative’s end goal is to find a dental home for all residents of Branford by: making dental care more important, taking away barriers and developing good habits. In this first year, we are focusing on children by working with the community partners through a multi-pronged approach.
Through education and outreach, the dental initiative is working with the Branford Counseling Center to develop an avenue to provide a referral process for families in need of dental care, and therefore find a dental home for every child. As well, the initiative is focusing on providing families services to those who need help applying for Husky Healthcare and the application process.

Secondary Indicator: The % of Branford Families who face food insecurity in their homes.

Food security has emerged as a growing problem in American society, as the
present economic circumstances have strained family budgets to the preclusion of
adequate wholesome food as daily sustenance for American children. In Connecticut, according to a recent study by the University of Connecticut (UConn), food insecurity is emerging as a substantial issue affecting the health and wellness of children, as well as impeding their educational and social outcomes. As defined in the UConn study, food security is measured by access to sufficient healthy food, so to support an active and healthy life, factoring in economics, access to food retailers and the percentage of citizens eligible for food assistance. The UConn study measured 38 indicators of food security, and noted many more demographic and economic challenges existing in Branford since the prior study in 2005. Branford now has been categorized as a town with above-average risk for food security, relative to other Connecticut towns, based on aggressively detrimental economics factors, as well as a relative paucity of distribution systems for food assistance. While Branford haspreviously been considered a relatively homogenous and affluent seaside community, it now suffers greater challenges only recognized more recently by this UConn study.

Branford has documented significant growth in the number of public school
students eligible for free and reduced lunch, now numbering approximately one of four school-aged children. Branford Public Schools reported that 23% of its students are eligible for free or reduced school lunch (and breakfast) in 2012, constituting a class of nearly 800 of its students. A concern expressed by numerous local social service organizations, including the Community Dining Room and the Branford Food Pantry, is that far fewer students are served through local food assistance programs than are being served in free and reduced lunch and breakfast programs within the public schools, indicating a substantial gap in the number of children eligible vs. number of children taking advantage of the community’s services. The community stakeholders continue to come together to improve availability of resources for families at risk.

If you would like to be a part of these efforts please contact branford.becc@gmail.com.

p: 203 415 5237
e: branford.becc@gmail.com

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BECC activities Branford Early Childhood Collaborative