Improving Family Outcomes by Meeting Basic Needs

Diapers, cribs, car seats, formula, and clothing – these basic resources are the things that young children and their families need to support healthy growth and development. Having access to these basic resources can improve both family and child outcomes for many reasons, including reducing stress and allowing families to focus on parenting and attachment.

Since 2018, Best Starts for Kids has supported WestSide Baby and Eastside Baby Corner to provide basic resources to King County families.

In just the first six months of 2019, these two organizations worked with 115 partner agencies to distribute resources to 6,867 households and nearly 14,000 children.

WestSide Baby and Eastside Baby Corner serve as “resource brokers”, using established relationships and public-private partnerships to bulk-buy supplies and distribute them to community-based organizations, who make sure that the supplies get to the children and families in need. The most common items distributed are diapers, diaper wipes, clothes, toys, books, hygiene items, and baby formula.

Learn more about Best Starts for Kids resource brokering partners in this earlier blog post.

Together, the resource brokers and partner agencies ensure that essential household items are getting to the families who need them most.

Of the families that received supplies in the first part of 2019, 8 in 10 households are considered low-income (earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level), and 3 in 10 households’ primary caregiver is unemployed. In addition, 61% of the children who received supplies are children of color and 36% speak a language other than English at home.

This shows that the supplies are reaching people who need them most; the 2017 Best Starts Health Survey found that compared to all families with young children in King County, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander families were more likely to have trouble covering basic resources. Families with incomes less than $50,000, or below 200% of the federal poverty level for a family of four, also found it hard to pay for diapers and formula. 

The partner agencies working with WestSide Baby and Eastside Baby Corner provided these basic resources at 246 unique sites across King County.  These sites offer programs including early learning programs (20%), housing/homeless services (15%), schools (10%), emergency care/assistance (10%), and more.

Best Starts for Kids is committed to helping build capacity, equity, and long-term relationships to continue addressing the unmet need for basic resources in the community. One resource broker introduced an equity screening tool that was rolled out across the whole organization, and the other improved their ordering system to better understand which specific items partner agencies order and how often. With support from BSK, these two organizations are making improvements to serve their communities more equitably and effectively.

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