Child and Family Wellness: Services and Resources
The early years of life are an important time to support lifelong physical, social, and emotional well being. According to the “Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive” initiative, as many as one in four children ages 0 to 5 are at moderate or high risk for developmental, behavioral, or social delay. Early childhood interventions can give you and your child a head start towards success.
Early childhood interventions include:
- Tracking growth and developmental milestones
- Completion of hearing, vision, and dental screenings
- Access to recommended vaccinations
- Ensuring access to nutritious foods
- Providing a safe and supportive environment
Vaya’s child and family wellness program aligns with the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. This plan states that all children will get a healthy start and develop to their full potential in safe and nurturing families, schools, and communities.
Preventive care and screenings play an important role in helping your child develop and learn. Early childhood screenings can identify conditions that may lead to possible delays or concerns with your child’s learning and development. Here are some of the screenings your child should receive:
- A hearing screening is required at birth for all infants before leaving the hospital.
- Many school systems conduct hearing screenings. These help identify children with disabilities or other conditions who may need special education or related services.
Developmental and behavioral screening
- This screening includes questions regarding your child’s language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends this screening during well-child visits at ages 9, 18, and 30 months.
- A vision screening is required for all children entering public school for the first time.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend taking your child to the dentist by their first birthday to spot signs of problems early.
- CDC recommends a blood lead test be performed on all children at ages 1 and 2 years and on children ages 3-6 years who have not been screened.
Vaccinations are important to protect you and your family from getting and spreading preventable diseases. Attending annual well visits keeps your child on track with the recommended routine vaccinations that protect them and keep them healthy. Adults should also receive recommended yearly vaccines, such as the flu (influenza) vaccine. Vaccines help people stay healthy or reduce the severity of their symptoms if they do get sick. Vaccines are also often, at no cost to you!
There are other vaccinations that are recommended for adults related to age, health, pregnancy, job, lifestyle, and travel. Your primary health care provider can determine which vaccinations you need, and where to get them. CDC has provided general guidelines for all ages in the links below.
Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)
WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program that provides healthy food and health care support for women, infants, and children until age five.
Before starting the application process, you can complete the online WIC PreScreening Tool to check if you meet eligibility requirements.
To apply for the WIC Program, you can contact the office of your local WIC agency or fill out the online North Carolina WIC Families referral form. For additional information, including a directory of local WIC offices, visit North Carolina WIC Program.
Vaya is committed to improving the health of mothers and their newborns. Talk with your provider today about how they can support you with pregnancy planning, prenatal health, and postpartum care.
Planning to become pregnant? CDC outlines specific tips on how to plan for a healthy pregnancy. These tips include but are not limited to:
- Speaking with your provider about fertility and family planning
- Preparing your body for pregnancy by engaging in a healthy lifestyle
- Taking folic acid two to three months before you conceive (Folic acid helps protect your future baby against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida).
- Taking control of any current medical or mental health conditions
- Learning about your family’s health history
- Waiting at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again to decrease your risk of premature birth (premature birth can lead to health problems for your baby).
Pregnancy can be both an exciting and challenging time. CDC outlines specific tips for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. These tips include but are not limited to:
- Setting up early and regular prenatal visits with your health care provider
- Maintaining the health of you and your baby by taking folic acid and engaging in regular physical activity
- Learning about the risks associated with substance use during pregnancy
- Taking control of any medical or mental health conditions
Preparing for Birth
There are a variety of ways to prepare yourself for birth and baby’s arrival. The CDC outlines steps that you can take during pregnancy to give your baby a healthy start in life. These tips include but are not limited to:
- Learning about child safety seats
- Understanding safe sleep and reducing the risk of sleep related deaths, including SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Learning about the health benefits of breast feeding
- Pregnant members may qualify to receive a breast pump from Aeroflow
- Pregnant members may also be eligible to receive education and support through Lactation Link by Aeroflow Breastpumps
Postpartum Health Following Pregnancy
Vaya wants to help keep you and your new baby healthy and thriving following delivery. The CDC outlines tips on keeping you and your baby healthy and safe. These tips include but are not limited to:
- Managing physical and emotional changes after your baby is born
- Caring for baby while managing your own healing
- Understanding newborn screenings, well-visits, and immunizations
- Newborn and child safety
To support child and family wellness, Vaya offers extra benefits and incentives for members who qualify.
Daily meal delivery: Qualifying members can have two meals per day for up to seven days delivered to their home after returning from the hospital. (Only available within the first 30 days following hospital discharge.)
Supportive rides: Vaya provides eligible members with up to 12 rides a year to help you access unmet health-related resource needs. These can include rides to grocery stores, food banks, in-network pharmacies, prenatal classes, local community activities, and job-related activities.
Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT): Vaya provides eligible members with transportation to and from non-emergency medical appointments.
Transportation services are provided by a Vaya third-party vendor.
$10 gift card for getting a COVID-19 and/or flu vaccine: You can get a $10 gift card when you get a COVID-19 or influenza (flu) vaccine. Members are eligible for up to two gift cards per plan year for getting any COVID-19 vaccination/booster or flu vaccine.
$25 gift card for attending a child or adolescent wellness visit (For Innovations Members only): Attending well-child appointments is the best way to track healthy development, prevent illness, and detect health issues. Vaya promotes appointment attendance by offering gift cards for families whose child attends their wellness visits.
- NCCARE360 is the first statewide coordinated care network to better connect individuals to local services and resources.
- 2-1-1 is comprehensive source of information about local resources and services.
- North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program (NC ITP) provides support and services to families with children ages 0-3 years who qualify.
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library supports early literacy by providing books free of charge to children from birth to age five.