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Courthouse honored for breast feeding support
new deh county brestfeeding award pic
Barton County Health Department Health Educator Janel Rose, center, and Health Department dietician Beverly Frizell, right, present the Gold Level Breast feeding Employees Support Award plaque received by the county to Barton County Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer Monday morning. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Barton County Courthouse has received the Gold Level Breast feeding Employees Support Award from the Kansas Breast feeding Coalition and its Business Case for Breast feeding program. 
“This is a wonderful opportunity to support young mothers returning to the workforce,” said Barton County Health Department Health Educator Janel Rose. The award recognizes the establishment of a breast feeding room at the courthouse.
The award recognizes businesses that provide support services to their nursing employees, to include education as well as the time and space for employees to nurse and/or pump breast milk at their workplace, Rose said. The honor is the top ranking of three sponsored by the coalition.
With this room, “we give a family-friendly image to the community,” said Health Department dietician Beverly Frizell. She cited research showing that adequate support for nursing employees benefits businesses through savings in health care expenses, reduced turnover rates, lower absenteeism, and increased employee loyalty.
Plus, employers that have established support services for nursing employees have reported a three-to-one cost savings through a more productive working environment, Frizell said.
According to Brenda Bandy, director of the Business Case for Breast Feeding program in Kansas, the Barton County Courthouse received the award for achieving a high level of support to their employees as outlined in the Coalition’s criteria. She said they provide a “gold level” pumping room, allow flexible time to pump, and have instituted a policy of breast feeding support.
Bandy said that many nursing mothers abandon breast feeding when they return to work because they lack the support and appropriate facilities at their place of employment. “We want to help change that unfortunate situation.”
“Many Kansas employers recognize the benefits of supporting their nursing employees,” said Kathy Walker, a pediatric clinical nurse specialist and Kansas Breast feeding Coalition Board member. “We want to shine the spotlight on as many employers as we can for doing their part to make returning to work while nursing easier in hopes that will encourage more businesses to follow suit.”
Businesses that provide support services for their nursing employees can be considered for a Breast feeding Employees Support Award at the bronze, silver and gold levels. 
The Business Case for Breast feeding is a program to assist employers in developing or enhancing support services for their nursing employees.