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EFNEP Reached Out to Home-Based Head Start Parents

The Issue

In the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties), the Head Start programs serve disadvantaged families with children from birth to the age of 5 in Head Start center or home-based options. In the home-based program, a Head Start teacher visits with parents in their home weekly to teach them strategies to enhance child development, and improve health and school readiness. It is estimated that about 14.5% of children under five are overweight for their age in the Inland Empire. Head Start teachers understand that parent involvement and education is a key to helping children start on the right path to good health and seek assistance to bring nutrition education to the Head Start parents. UC Cooperative Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has long provided nutrition classes at the center-based locations, but the home-based Head Start parents were left out.

What Has ANR Done?

In federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015, Riverside EFNEP collaborated with the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) Home Based Head Start to partner with the home-based teachers to deliver EFNEP’s Learn-at-Home curriculum. EFNEP Educators conducted an all-day training for 23 home-based teachers so they could teach the lessons. The teachers enrolled 151 parents, distributed the materials and followed up weekly with the parents to help them set goals to make behavior changes. Due to the success of the program, RCOE Home Based Head Start continued the program for a second year. Additionally, this model of collaboration caught the interest of San Bernardino County Preschool Services Department who has a similar home-based program. In FFY 2016, San Bernardino EFNEP conducted half-day training for five home-based teachers at Citrus Head Start in Fontana as a pilot program. San Bernardino EFNEP Educators also conducted a food demonstration and answered questions during home-based parents’ socialization time. Educators went back the following month to present the EFNEP certificate to the parents who completed all the lessons and graduated from the program.

The Payoff

Over 250 home-based parents graduated and made behavior changes

A total of 256 home-based parents from both counties graduated from EFNEP. The graduation rate in Riverside was 66% the first year and increased to 71% the second year. The graduation rate in San Bernardino was 100% for all 50 parents that enrolled. The food behavior checklist survey shows that home-based parents have made changes toward healthier behaviors. Over 50% (53% in Riverside, 58% in San Bernardino) said they now use Nutrition Facts labels more often to make food choices and over 45% (48% in Riverside, 46% in San Bernardino) reported that they use grocery lists more often. In San Bernardino, 90% of the participants made improvement in one or more food resource management practices and 40% reported that they run out of food less often each month.


Supporting Unit: Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
Chutima Ganthavorn, NFCS Advisor, cganthavorn@ucanr.edu
Connie Costello, EFNEP Program Supervisor, clcostello@ucanr.edu