East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s children’s centres are celebrating after achieving international recognition for a baby-friendly initiative.
The children’s centres have successfully achieved full accreditation in the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative, a worldwide programme of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.
The initiative is designed to support breastfeeding and parent-infant relationships by working with public services to improve standards of care. It aims to ensure that all parents make informed decisions about feeding their babies and are supported in their chosen feeding method.
The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation process takes several years to achieve and is a nationally recognised mark of quality care for babies and mothers.
The children’s centres have gained full Stage 3 accreditation through a process of assessments looking at policies, staff education and interviews with parents about the care that families receive.
The council has children’s centres across the East Riding, including Anlaby, Beeford, Beverley, Bridlington, Brough, Cottingham, Driffield, Hedon, Hessle, Hornsea, Howden, Goole, Market Weighton, Pocklington and Withernsea.
The assessment team commended staff for the efforts made, and said it was clear that pregnant women and new mothers receive a very high standard of care.
“It was evident the needs of pregnant women, mothers and their families were placed at the centre for all care planning, resulting in a service responsive to their needs and much appreciated by all those interviewed,” their report said.
The council is working in partnership with the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, whose integrated public health nursing services are also celebrating after being re-accredited under the Baby Friendly Initiative.
Councillor Julie Abraham, the council’s portfolio holder for children, young people and education, said: “Children’s centres across the East Riding are committed to giving every child the best start in life and this accreditation is an important recognition of their work towards this aim. I would like to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to achieve it.”
A spokesman for Humber NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to be re-accredited for the Stage Three UNICEF Baby Friendly Award. The award demonstrates the commitment of all our health visitors, nursery nurses and associated employees.
“Staff have worked long and hard to maintain this accreditation and provide the required early support and intervention. Best of all, the award means mothers in the East Riding will receive a consistently high standard of care to ensure their babies get the best start in life.”