Friday, August 15, 2014

Send Your Kids Back to School with their Vaccines Up to Date

National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder
that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.

Back-to-school season is here. It’s time for parents to gather supplies and back packs. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines.

To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life – and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need – Columbia County is joining with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students. To see what vaccinations your child needs check out the Wisconsin Immunization Program’s website

Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, and whooping cough.

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.

School-age children need vaccines too! For example, children who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and polio. Older children, like preteens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate vaccine) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines when they are 11 to 12. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.
If your child needs immunizations before heading back to school Columbia County’s free immunization clinic is on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 8am – 12pm.  There is also an afternoon immunization clinic on September 8th, October 13th, November 10th and December 8th from 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm. 

Your child can receive free immunizations at one of these clinics if they are 18 years or younger and meets at least one of the following requirements:

·    Uninsured or underinsured (underinsured means your child has health insurance doesn’t cover any vaccines, doesn’t cover certain vaccines or covers vaccines but has a fixed dollar limit and once that limit has been met then your child is eligible)
·       Medicaid-eligible (including BadgerCare)
·    Native American or Alaska Native

Or call us at 608-742-9227.

Monday, August 11, 2014

World Breastfeeding Week

This past week we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week.  This year's theme was Breastfeeding:  A Winning Goal for Life!  This goal acknowledges that when mothers and their babies succeed in their breastfeeding plans, they can enjoy a lifetime of benefits which include:

  • Reduced Levels of Poverty & Hunger:  Exclusive and continued breastfeeding provides high quality energy and nutrients that promote healthy growth and development.  Breastfeeding is affordable and does not burden household budgets;
  • Improved Maternal & Infant Health;
  • Empowerment for Women:  Breastfeeding is a right of women as well as babies and should be supported by society, for example, via maternity protection laws;
  • A Fair Start in Life for Every Child:  Breastfeeding is the great equalizer, giving every child a fair start in life.  Breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are fundamentals for readiness to learn;
  • Reduced Infant and Child Mortality:  Infant mortality can be readily reduced with improved breastfeeding practices alone.
For more information about breastfeeding, please click on link below:

Friday, August 8, 2014

                                 PRESS RELEASE                                    



Date:      August 8, 2014

From:     Susan Lorenz R.N. M.S. Health Officer

Phone:    608-742-9265


Columbia County Health and Human Services has been awarded an $11,103.00 Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile grant from the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.  The Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile Program is a statewide dental sealant program that offers grants to local school-based programs targeting underserved children in schools with a free and reduced hot lunch (FRL) of greater than 35%.

 Thirteen school buildings in seven different school districts qualified for the grant in Columbia County:

1)      Cambria Friesland Elementary School

2)      Cambria Friesland Middle School

 3)   Fall River Elementary School

 4)   Pardeeville Middle School

 5)   Portage Rusch Elementary School

 6)   Portage Lewiston Elementary School

 7)   Portage John Muir Elementary School  

 8)   Portage Wayne Bartels Middle School

 9)   Randolph Elementary School

 10) Rio Elementary School

 11) Rio Middle School

 12) Wisconsin Dells Spring Hill Elementary School

 13) Wisconsin Dells Spring Hill Middle School

Columbia County Health and Human Services has contracted with Cindy Seubert, Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) to provide and coordinate the Columbia County Seal-A-Smile services while the child is in school. With this funding, dental screenings to at least 670 children and dental sealants to at least 540 children will be provided. This program is not meant to be a substitution for regular dental visits.

What will the Columbia County Seal-A-Smile program offer?

·         FREE sealants

·         FREE fluoride varnish

·         FREE tooth brushing instructions and oral health education

·         FREE toothbrush and toothpaste

·         A letter sent home explaining what services were done and suggestions for further treatment

What is a sealant?

·         A sealant is a thin, tooth colored, plastic coating that is painted on a tooth to help prevent cavities from forming

·         Your child will be checked to determine which teeth can have sealants, sealants will be done that same day

What if your child already has sealants?

·         The Registered Dental Hygienist will check your child’s sealants, and replace or repair those that may no longer be there

What is a fluoride varnish?

·         A fluoride varnish is topical gel that is painted onto the teeth, making them stronger

Did you know?

·         In the US alone, children miss about 52 million hours of school each year because of oral health problems

·         Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions can largely affect the ability to learn

·         90% of decay in children’s permanent teeth occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, sealants serve as a physical barrier to the bacteria that cause decay

The Columbia County Seal-A-Smile dental sealant program is available at no charge whether or not your child is covered by dental insurance. The program will bill Medical Assistance or BadgerCare if your child is covered by these programs. 

For more information about the Columbia County Seal-A-Smile dental sealant program, please call Susan Lorenz R.N. Columbia County Health Officer at 608-742-9227 or e-mail at





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Public Listening Sessions on Facility Needs

The Columbia County Board of Supervisors Infrastructure Committee has been studying options to solve several issues including aging facilities, safety and security at the courthouse, parking, and the need for additional space for the Health & Human Services Department.  The Committee wants you to be informed on these important issues and potential solutions under consideration.  There are five public listening sessions scheduled:

  • July 10, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Portage City Hall, 115 W. Pleasant Street, Portage
  • July 15, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Randolph Town Hall, 109 S. Madison Street, Friesland
  • July 17, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pardeeville Village Hall, 114 Lake Street, Pardeeville
  • July 22, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Columbus City Hall, 105 N. Dickason Blvd., Columbus
  • July 24, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at the Lodi City Hall, 130 S. Main Street, Lodi.
After the public listening sessions, the Infrastructure Committee will make a decision on an option to pursue and make a presentation and recommendation to the County Board in October 2014.  The purpose of the listening sessions is to get feedback on the options the County is considering and other possible solutions, and then continue to refine the master plan to determine the best option to meet the long term needs of Columbia County.

An incidental quorum of one or more County committees may occur, however, no additional committee business will be conducted.

Persons with disabilities, who need assistance to participate in the meeting, should notify the County Clerk's office at (608) 742-9654 prior to the meeting so that accommodations may be arranged.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Get Covered Wisconsin!

Under the new healthcare law, it is mandatory to have health insurance. There’s still confusion about the new healthcare law and changes to healthcare coverage. Let’s work together to provide helpful resources and make sure everyone is ready for next open enrollment.

We are looking for volunteers to help with canvassing and help with data entry. We will provide all the training, supplies and snacks! Let’s get Wisconsin covered!

If you’re interested, please contact AmeriCorps member Mai Houa Vue, at or at 608-288-2545.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Where to Find Help..........
It seems like every day we find ourselves looking for a number, or information on a program or service, and we are not sure where to even start looking. 
Health & Human Services has various ways for you to access telephone numbers, links and contact information on things like rental assistance, energy assistance, Goodwill vouchers, immunization clinics, food pantries, childcare assistance, FoodShare, and WIC.     
Check out the Resource section on the left side of the webpage for:
v Area Law Enforcement
v Columbia County Schools
v Community Resource Guide – this is updated bimonthly and includes information for things such as the Affordable Care Act, counseling, crisis programs, family resources, food pantries, health care clinics, housing, libraries, school districts, transportation and utilities. 
v Food, Lodging, Campgrounds, Tattoos - Licensing
v Frequently Requested Phone Numbers – such as DVR, Energy Assistance, and Planned Parenthood
v HHS Newsletter – this is updated quarterly to provide the community with upcoming events within the department and county, as well as information on food pantries and dental resources, etc.
Ø Contact us by phone, mail, or stop in

Call 608-742-9227
Fax (608) 742-9700
TDD (608) 742-9229
2652 Murphy Road
PO Box 136
Portage, WI  53901


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Are you Interested in Becoming a Foster Parent?

There is always a need for Foster Families in Columbia County.  Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to become a Foster Parent? To learn more about the program, start by contacting the Columbia County Foster Care Coordinator at Columbia County Health & Human Services.

Once you have made the initial inquiry with our Foster Care Coordinator at , you will receive a Welcome Packet providing information, and asking for some basic information about your household.  Once you forward that information to our agency, you will receive a second packet from us which will contain an official application and questionnaire that need to be completed by the adults in the home.  A Release of Information form needs to be signed by the adults giving us permission to do background checks.  We also ask for an autobiography from all adults in the home.

When the application and questionnaire is returned, we will then send out a 3rd packet to you in which we ask for household and auto insurance policy information, a fire safety evacuation plan, an emergency evacuation plan, employer reference and medical certification for each person in the household.  We will send out a school questionnaire for any children you have still in school.  You will be required to provide 4 reference people that we can contact.  Once this documentation has been returned to our agency, a meeting with our FC Coordinator will be scheduled and a Foster Parents Agreement signed. 

The complete process usually takes several weeks to complete.  We structure the process into steps to keep the whole thing from being too overwhelming, and our Foster Care Coordinator is only a phonecall away throughout the process.

Please think about the positive impact you could have on a child’s life by considering being a foster parent.