RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) has been recognized as a breastfeeding friendly workplace.
The Virginia Department of Health has named the VADOC a Gold-level Virginia Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace.
The award was given through the Virginia Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Recognition Program. The program recognizes workplaces for meeting lactation program best practices and establishing breastfeeding friendly environments.
The program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Breastfeeding Coalition (VBC). The workplaces are evaluated on three levels of breastfeeding support: Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
The VADOC says they provide clean, private, secure, locked accommodations for new mothers at each of its facilities, including their prisons, probation and parole offices, and other agency locations.
“While the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is a personal one based on many different factors, research shows that breastfeeding and human milk provide general health, growth, and developmental advantages while significantly decreasing the risk of infant mortality and many acute and chronic diseases,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a letter to employees marking Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August.
VADOC earned the gold standard by providing educational training about breastfeeding support policy and guidelines to supervisors and managers, providing private areas with a chair and table, access to electricity and a nearby working sink, and refrigerators for breast milk storage.
“As a public safety agency, the Virginia Department of Corrections seeks to promote safe and healthy environments at all its locations for all its employees, and that includes supporting the health of new mothers and babies. We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Lucinda Childs-White, VADOC Director of Human Resources.