Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Early Intervention 101

The first three years of life is a time of huge growth for children. They go from being tiny infants who can’t get around on their own or communicate their wants or needs (minus the crying!) to being amazing toddlers who can walk, run and express their thoughts and emotions.

Of course, these changes don’t happen overnight. There are different milestones along the way. If your child isn’t meeting those developmental markers as expected, your pediatrician or childcare provider may suggest taking a closer look. That’s where we come in! We are Service Coordinators for the Clinton County Health Department’s Early Intervention program. We work with children ages 0-3 years to see if they need any assistance meeting developmental milestones like crawling, talking, walking and learning. So how do I get started?


ü  Intake Meeting

·         When your child is referred to Early Intervention (EI), your family will be assigned to a Service Coordinator (SC) like me!

·         We will schedule an intake meeting which can be done over the phone or in person at your home. 

·         During this meeting, we will discuss any and all concerns and complete the initial paperwork (including a consent for evaluation).

·         Your child CAN’T be evaluated without your permission.


Intake meeting with Melissa Fuller, Children’s Service Program Specialist/EI Service Coordinator

ü  The Evaluation

·         Once you choose an evaluation agency, two highly trained professionals will evaluate your child.

§  They will set up a time to come to your home or a place that your child spends most of the day and is most comfortable. The team will also talk with you to get more information about medical history, any concerns, and what your child is or isn’t yet able to do at this time.

§  The evaluation team is trained in social/emotional, communication, cognitive, adaptive and physical development.

·         During the evaluation, they will use standardized tests and other methods (disguised in play J)  to discover more about your little one’s skills.

·         Once they are done playing (I mean evaluating) they will share with you how your child did in each tested area.

·         Those results will determine if your child is eligible for EI services.

ü  If your child is eligible for EI services

·         Our team (including your SC, the evaluators and most importantly YOU!) will create an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). An IFSP is a written, legal document that explains the services that your child and family will receive.

§  It outlines when, where, and how those EI services will be delivered and is truly a map to guide you and the professionals working with you and your child.

·         This program is completely voluntary and family driven, so the services you agree to will start only once you sign the IFSP.

·         Your child’s team will review the IFSP twice a year to look at the progress your child has made and to help you decide whether any changes are needed.

·         Your SC will also check in with you monthly to see how services are going. You can call them any time with questions or concerns!

ü  What if my child is not eligible for EI services?

·         You can ask to have your child placed in the ‘At-Risk Program’. This means we will call you in a few months to check in on your child’s progress and potentially do a re-evaluation.

·         You can also take the tips/ideas that the evaluators give to you after the evaluation to use at home! J

If you think your child could benefit from these services, any parent/caregiver can make a direct referral by calling us at 518-565-4848 and asking for the Early Intervention Program. Not sure if your child is meeting their milestones? Click here. We also offer developmental screenings the last Monday afternoon of every month here at the Clinton County Health Department. All of our services are FREE of charge! So if you feel your child may be delayed, don’t hesitate, call us today!


Melissa Fuller

Children’s Service Program Specialist/EI Service Coordinator

Division of Health Care Services


Monday, October 4, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About WIC

I started working at Clinton County WIC in February of this year and every day I am so thankful to have a job that has such a huge impact on those in need. Women, Infants and Children, more commonly known as WIC, is a public health nutrition program that is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purpose of WIC is to provide education and proper nutrition to mothers of babies up to 6 months old, mothers of breastfeeding babies up to 12 months old and infants/children up to age 5. The wonderful people of WIC work to help families develop healthier habits so that they can live longer, happier lives!

How do I enroll? Call your local WIC agency or go online to find one closest to you! To qualify for WIC in New York State you must:

  • Live in NYS
  • Meet income limits OR get benefits from Medicaid, SNAP, or TANF
  • Have a dietary need

What’s New in WIC? 

  • No more checks! WIC benefits are now on EBT cards.
  • WIC2GO mobile app helps you track benefits, check upcoming appointments, and scan WIC approved items in the store.

What Does WIC Provide?

Our goal is to provide families with the resources and education to live happier and healthier lives. We work hard to support the families we see in every way we can. Call us today to see if you or your loved ones qualify 518-565-4830.

Emily Hutchins, RD, CDN, CLC

WIC Public Health Nutritionist

Division of Health Planning and Promotion 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Don’t “Wing It”: Follow These Simple Tips to Catch the Bat

Don’t freak out, don’t freak out, don’t freak out
! That is what I kept telling myself when I woke up to a bat in my house just last month! My first instinct was to open the door and swat it outside – good riddance! But then I remembered my training as a Public Health Sanitarian at the Clinton County Health Department. Since I was sleeping and didn’t see the bat enter my house I knew I needed to capture it so it could be tested for rabies. Rabies is a fatal viral infection that can be spread to people and pets if they are bitten by an infected animal, such as a bat.

Bats have small, sharp teeth which may not leave a visible bite mark and a bite from a bat during the night may not awaken a sleeping person (creepy, I know). Bats should be captured and tested if they are found in a room where a person is sleeping, with an unattended child, someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or someone with a mental disability. So my next step was to capture this thing…but how?! I pulled up this video for a quick refresher and outlined the steps for you:

  • Close doors, windows and closet doors to keep the bat in the room.
  • Turn on the lights if the room is dark.
  • Wear gloves (heavy, preferably pliable thick leather) and wait for the bat to land. It is important to not damage the bat’s head.
  • Cover the bat with a coffee can or similar container with a lid.
  • Slide a piece of cardboard under the can, trapping the bat.
  • While firmly holding the cardboard in place against the top of the can, turn the can right side up.
  • Replace the cardboard with the lid (if no lid, tape the cardboard tightly to the can).
  • If you live in Clinton County, call the Clinton County Health Department at 518-565-4870. If you live in a different county, call your local health department.

If I would have seen the bat enter my house I could have opened the windows or door so the bat could have escaped. But there I was, with a bat in a cool whip container. Lucky me.

You may be asking yourself, “What if I couldn’t catch the bat and it got away?”

If we (Clinton County Health Department) are unable to test the bat for rabies and there is a chance you (or your family) were exposed we are going to recommend postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Most bats leave in the fall or winter to hibernate, so guess what I will be doing? Bat-proofing my home! Here are some things I will be looking for/doing:

  • Look for holes that might allow bats to enter and seal any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch.
  • Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft-guards beneath doors to attics.
  • Ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly.

In addition to my fall bat-proofing, I just checked my two pup’s vaccinations to make sure they are up-to-date (phew!). If your furry friends need their rabies vaccinations check out our FREE rabies clinic schedule.

Remember, you cannot tell if a bat has rabies by looking at it or by the way it acts. The only way to know if an animal has rabies is to send it for testing. Curious about the rabies program at the CCHD? Check out this blog.

Karissa LaBonte

Public Health Sanitarian

Division of Environmental Health and Safety

Monday, August 16, 2021

The ‘Art’ of Placemaking

“Working Together for a Healthier Community” is our motto here at the Clinton County Health Department (CCHD). I, for one, am excited that we are able to bring this motto to life by facilitating the creation of unique and healthy spaces throughout our community, with help from residents like you!

We recently partnered with 18 locally-owned businesses and community-based organizations in Clinton County through a grant called Operation: Light, Quick, Cheap (LQC) provided by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHF). Partners were awarded funding to create safe, fun and eye-catching spaces that promote healthy behaviors.

This was such a fun grant to be a part of and I am so excited to share the ‘out of the box’ projects that were completed. They all involve placemaking which allows businesses to make cost effective improvements to their spaces to promote physical activity and/or healthy eating.  

If you have time this summer I would encourage you to explore some of Clinton County’s newest attractions:

  1. Beekmantown Volunteer Fire Department - 6973 NY-22, West Chazy, NY 12992

Project Name: BVFD Memorial & Community Space

Project Description: An ADA sidewalk was installed for all community members to have convenient access from the parking lot to the pavilion area. Benches and lighting for the area were donated.


  1. Black Brook General Store - 781 Silver Lake Rd, Au Sable Forks, NY 12912

Project Name: Bike & Visitor Friendly Space

Project Description: A bike repair station and bike racks were added to the store’s location to increase active transportation. Additionally, two oversized Adirondack chairs now sit at the store for photo opportunities and to increase visitors.


  1. The Cat’s Meow Thrift Shoppe -90 Bridge St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901,  Accepted by Outside Art: Plattsburgh Public Art Project

Project Name: “Community Garden” Mural

Project Description: Coordinated by Outside Art: Plattsburgh Public Art Project, the Community Garden Mural features colorful flowers with an interactive “find the cats” element. This mural was completed with help from local community members, art students from Plattsburgh State, and individuals from the Autism Alliance of Northeastern New York. There are 20 cats, 15 snails, 9 mushrooms, and 5 bugs in the mural; can you find them all?


  1. Central Nutrition Smoothie & Juice Bar - 11149 Route 9 Champlain, NY 12010

Project Name: Gathering Space

Project Description: A beautiful space with landscaping for the community to gather and just chat while playing a game of chess or checkers. Have a bike? Take a ride to this new location, there are new bike racks conveniently located next to this community area.


  1. City of Plattsburgh Fire Department - 7 South Platt St, Plattsburgh NY 12901

Project Name: The “Splash!” Mural 

Project Description: This mural brings the community together and supports local essential workers. Outside Art: Plattsburgh Public Art Project collaborated with the local fire department, NYSATA art teachers, and local students to bring some life into a plain firehouse wall. The theme of water encompasses the firehouse’s proximity to the Saranac River, the lifesaving resource that firefighters use every day, and the feeling of joy people get from engaging in recreational activities in or near water. 


  1. City Well - 30 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, NY

Project Name: Community Well-ness Project

Project Description: This design features interactive sidewalk and concrete barrier art with an under the sea, fish theme that surrounds a community seating area. Want to play in the art? Head inside for some chalk!


  1. Clinton County Child Advocacy Center – 130 Arizona Ave, Plattsburgh NY 12903

Project Name: Welcoming, Friendly Fencing

Project Description: A colorful, playful space was created for visitors to feel welcomed and comfortable with a whimsical flower pattern bordering the fenced in gathering area.


  1. Clinton County Historical Association – Peace Park

Project Name: Tsi ietsenhtha (Jee Yeh Jen Ta)/Plattsburgh Art Project

Project Description: A turtle art sculpture was placed in Peace Park. The shell of the turtle has a different design on each, representing the history of the Native people.


  1. Clinton County Mental Health & Addiction Services - 130 Arizona Ave. Plattsburgh, NY 12903

Project Title: We are Here!

Project Description: Sidewalk art and benches with encouraging words from the parking lot to the entryway creates a welcoming space for community members.


  1. Cornerstone Pharmacy – 72 Champlain St, Rouses Point NY 12979

Project Title: Farmacy 2.0

Project Description: The Farmacy Project is an effort to provide locally grown and produced food to area residents. Items include: fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs, and bulk food bins items. This allows the community to have access to a Farmers Market, that is usually a once a week event, everyday! SNAP/EBT accepted.


  1. Cumberland Bay Market - 1544 Cumberland Head Road, Plattsburgh, New York 12901

Project Title: From Rays & Seeds to Rows & Harvest

Project Description: Raised garden beds were installed to grow fresh produce to use in the meals cooked by the market. A children’s tour of the garden was offered with a Master Gardener that taught children about the gardening process. The market also has their fresh produce for sale and encourages community members that are food insecure to help themselves to some produce.


  1. D & D Meats – 8945 Rt 22, West Chazy NY 12992

Project Title: Corner Oasis

Project Description: Farm cutouts for photo opportunities, bike racks to encourage active transportation, and fresh produce are all located in this Corner Oasis.


  1. Lakeside Coffee – 109 Lake St, Rouses Point NY 12979

Project Title: Project Sunburst

Project Description: This outside community park is newly constructed with benches, games tables, bike racks, and beautiful landscaping. If you’re feeling hungry or thirsty, head across the street to Lakeside Coffee for a bite to eat! Looking for other activities that are available in Rouses Point? Visit the message board in the park that maps out local businesses, community areas and events.


  1. M’Akin Things Homemade - 1166 Cook St, Dannemora, NY 12929

Project Title: Welcoming Outdoor Space

Project Description: M’Akin Things Homemade just made the community more visually pleasing for customers, visitors, and residents. Check out the artistic balloon dog benches, sustainable greenery and homemade garden beds that double as safety railing on the corner of Cook and Emmons Street. 


  1. Maui North – City of Plattsburgh

Project Title: Artistic Bike Racks Project

Project Description: Art and bike racks do mix! Maui North partnered with the City of Plattsburgh to install fun shaped bike racks throughout the City. Can you find all 11 locations? Hint: There’s a book shaped bike rack at the Plattsburgh Public Library.


  1. Rouses Point Library - Rouses Point Civic Center, 39 Lake St, Rouses Point NY 12979

Project Title: Hop, Skip, Read!

Project Description: StoryWalk® is an innovative way for children and families to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time and it is now in Rouses Point. Visit the StoryWalk® to read and enjoy the interactive walkway with painted stencil activities.


  1. Strand Center for the Arts - 23 Brinkerhoff St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Project Title: Melody Park

Project Description: An outdoor musical art park is here for you to enjoy the sound of music in an open air space. Check out the new addition during an artisan market, outdoor concert, or just when you’re out on your next stroll.


  1. West Chazy Recreation Park

Project Title: Merry-Go-Cycle (coming in September!)

Project Description: Bring the kids to enjoy a newly installed merry-go-cycle while you enjoy playing tennis or pickle ball on the courts that were recently resurfaced in 2020.


Amanda Prenoveau

Public Health Educator

Division of Health Planning and Promotion

Sunday, August 8, 2021

How to Help Your School-Aged Kiddos Make Better Food Choices

One of the most common questions I get as a Registered Dietitian is “So...what exactly should I be feeding my kids?” The answer can be simple: “What exactly do you feed yourself?” Adults should strive to eat a well-balanced diet as much as possible. The eating habits parents have are often the same habits their children develop. The best way to feed your children is to set a good example for them and to join them in making wholesome food choices! Here are some tips on the main food groups kids should be eating. 

What Are The 5 Food Groups? 

 How Do I Help My Kids Make Good Food Choices? 
  • Aim for the Rainbow 
    • Including every food group and a wide variety of colors is a good way to make sure your kiddos are getting the vitamins and minerals that they need. 
    • Children who eat balanced meals are more likely to have better brain, muscle, and bone development and are less likely to grow up to be picky eaters.
  • Be a Role Model 
    • Bring your kids grocery shopping so they can help pick out fruits and veggies; caregivers are every child’s first teacher.
    • Prepare nutritious meals with your kids. A child that helps prepare a meal is more likely to want to eat it because they are proud of their hard work!
  • Avoid Saying Foods are "Good" or "Bad"
    • In the right amounts, all food can fit! 
    • Banning ‘junk’ food or saying only certain foods are ‘good’ can leave kids feeling fearful of food and could lead to disordered eating later in life. 
  • Have Options
    • It’s best to always have nutrient dense foods at home.
    • Kids like to feel independent; find time to let them choose between two nutritious snacks so they feel involved. 
What are Some Lunch/Snack Recipes My Kids Can Help Prepare? 

For more fun food ideas for you and your kids, find the WIC and Farmers Market recipes on the Clinton County Health Department website! 

Emily Hutchins, RD, CDN, CLC

WIC Public Health Nutritionist

Division of Health Planning and Promotion

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Your One Stop Shop for Breastfeeding Support


Like any other expecting mom, my mother had to decide how she was going to feed me once I was born.  She told me that it was an extremely difficult decision to make because she worked full-time and didn’t know how she was going to balance everything. However, her provider explained that breastfeeding was not only a bonding experience but also the perfect balance of nutrients that her body would make specifically for me, her baby.

Nature's Way Baby Cafe (R)
With the support of my father, she made the decision to start exclusively breastfeeding.  A couple months
into our breastfeeding journey, I proved to be a very fussy baby.  My mother recalled how frustrating it sometimes was to have to reposition every time I was feeding or how expressing milk was difficult without a pump.  Through all the hurdles she faced, she continued to breastfeed until I was 18 months old.  And let me tell you, she would do it all again if she could.

If you are a breastfeeding mother, odds are you have found yourself in similar situations to what my mother had to face.  With access to the internet and an increasing number of community resources it is easier to search for information. But, sometimes you still cannot find what you are looking for and don’t know where to ask for help. That is where the Clinton County Breastfeeding Coalition comes in!

The Clinton County Breastfeeding Coalition is comprised of community organizations and local moms and meets once a month to promote and advocate for breastfeeding in our area. The coalition created and maintains the Clinton County Breastfeeding Referral Guide which is your one stop shop for evidenced based breastfeeding related help. They are also spearheading a social media campaign aimed to normalize breastfeeding while highlighting the ‘realness’ because, let’s be honest, it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. You can expect to see one post per month on CCHD’s social media platforms from June through November 2021. You will be able to interact by posting pictures of you and your nursling(s) with #ThisIsHowWeNurse.

Example of the Clinton County Breastfeeding Coalition's Social Media Campaign 

Chances are, at some point each of us will know a mom who wants to breastfeed. Just like my mom’s doctor and my father did, I am challenging each of you to support and encourage that mom to reach her goals. Sharing this campaign on your social media is one small way you can contribute to a cultural shift in which we all view breastfeeding as normal, accepted and welcomed.


Alexandra Mesick

Public Health Educator

Division of Health Planning and Promotion 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Lyme Disease Cases Have Tripled in Clinton County…Here are 5 Ways to Prevent Tick Bites

As I am writing this, I have three children who are 8 years, 5 years, and almost 9 months old. Two things I always tell my children; I love you, and my job as your mom is to keep you safe! They tend to roll their eyes at the safety part (well the 8 year old and 5 year old do anywayJ). There are so many things to worry about as a parent but one thing I am extra cautious about are ticks. This is especially true from April-September (although don’t get too relaxed in late fall or winter, I found a tick crawling on my infant in mid-November).  

Ticks can carry a wide range of diseases. That is why I take extra care when it comes to not only
protecting my family but also my pets from these pesky creatures. Lyme disease (carried by the deer or black-legged tick) is the most common illness transmitted by ticks. Cases of Lyme disease have more than tripled in Clinton County since 2018, so it is more important than ever to be on the lookout for ticks.

5 Ways to Prevent Tick Bites:

1.  Know where ticks may be lurking

a. Ticks like grassy, bushy, or wooded areas but they also like to live on our pets.

b.   Always walk in the center of trails and avoid wooded and brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter.

c.    You don’t need to be deep in the woods to get a tick bite, it can happen in our own backyards.

2. Apply insect repellent. This really deserves its own blog post, but here are a few quick tips to know before applying insect repellent on kids:

a.       Never apply insect repellent on infants younger than 2 months of age.

b.       Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents containing, DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diolon (PMD), or 2-undecanone

                                                               i.      The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children (a higher concentration does not mean more protection).

                                                             ii.      Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

                                                           iii.      Do not use products that combine DEET and sunscreen, although these seem like a great idea, it can actually reduce the effectiveness of the sunscreen and accidentally expose your kiddo to more DEET, because the sunscreen needs to be applied more often.

3. Dress for Success

a.       Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% Permetherin.  It is important to note that this should only be applied to clothing, not to skin.

b.       Dress in light colors (it makes it easier to spot ticks), long pants, a lightweight long sleeved shirt, socks, and closed shoes before heading outdoors. Put hair in a ponytail and wear a broad brimmed hat.

4. After you come inside

a.       Check clothing, gear, and pets for ticks.

b.       Throw clothes in the dryer and tumble dry them on high heat for 10 minutes.

c.        Bathe within two hours after coming indoors.

5. Daily Tick Checks:

a.       Ticks are tiny and like to hide! Regardless if you or your kids have been outside or not, check everyone’s entire body for ticks daily, paying close attention to specific areas; under the arms, in and around the ears, inside belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around the waist.

Ugh, I found a tick, now what?!

·         First, don’t panic! The key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. Remember - not all ticks are infected and your risk of infection is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 24-36 hours,

·         Use fine tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible,

·         Pull upward with steady, even pressure (don’t twist or jerk the tick),

·         After removing the tick, wash the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water,

·         Check for symptoms. If any develop contact your or your child’s healthcare provider right away.

For more info on ticks or how to stay safe this summer, read our Summer Safety Guide!


Lindsay Dareff

Registered Professional Nurse

Division of Health Planning and Promotion