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CEO Update
CHST Safe Sleep Initiative Saves Kids' Lives

We’re now applying for funding through the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to extend our Child Health and Safety Team (CHST) for another five years. In researching for this process, it’s been eye-opening to recall the tremendous progress we’ve made the last eight years -- since the child fatality review team (CFRT) was established in Allegany County in 2010 and then expanded to Cattaraugus County in 2013. We aim to expand into Chautauqua County, whose officials have become active guest attendees at quarterly meetings since inquiring about the initiative last winter.
 
The team has reviewed the tragic deaths of six young children. Five occurred due to unsafe sleeping practices, with parents/caregivers often sleeping alongside them or placing dangerous objects like pillows, blankets and even an adult sleeping bag in the sleeping area. In most of these cases, the parents/caregivers were unaware of the danger or ignored advice from caseworkers and other medical professionals. The sixth was an infant death due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from abuse. From these reviews the CHST, including members of law enforcement, coroners, pediatricians, district attorneys and other county officials, combined their multidisciplinary expertise to strategize and enact widespread educational campaigns from safe sleep to water safety. Since 2016, our Cribs for Kids program has educated over 323 parents/caregivers and distributed over 247 free safe cribs to families in need. Notably, there have been no such child fatalities in the CHST service area in more than two years.
 
We’ve always counted on support from our team members, agencies and Board of Directors, as each individual agency plays a critical role in saving children’s lives. I hope to count on your continued support during this new grant application process.
 
Open House a Great Success

We held an Open House at our new facility, 150 North Union Street in Olean, after our quarterly Board of Directors meeting Tuesday. I was so happy to see the number who came to see all this new location has to offer. We had Board members, elected officials, local health care stakeholders, EMS providers, and other community members circulating in and out all afternoon.
 
A highlight of the Open House was the chance to show off some of our new toys -- specifically the Walter L. Reisner Memorial Ambulance Simulator and the state-of-the-art distance-learning Training Center. This just goes to show that with some ingenuity and help from our community benefactors, these facilities can truly have a great impact on the people we serve. Thanks to everyone who made the event and this wonderful new home downtown possible.
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Southern Tier Health Care System, Inc.  |  150 North Union Street  |  Olean, NY 14760  |  http://www.sthcs.org

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