Breastfeeding USA requires all Breastfeeding Counselors to communicate with the organization and report their community contacts on a regular basis. Reporting helps Breastfeeding USA to demonstrate the effectiveness of the organization in delivering evidence-based information across the nation.
Community Contact Activity Reporting (CCAR)
Starting the month following their accreditation, Breastfeeding Counselors are required to report their activities for the previous month using the Community Contact Activity Reporting (CCAR) form. This easy-to-use survey is available on the website and collects a few key statistics about Breastfeeding Counselor activities. Even if a Breastfeeding Counselor has no direct community contacts to report for a month, she still must complete the monthly CCAR, which also tracks casual contacts, continuing education activities, and social-networking outreach. The entire form has only a few questions required of all Breastfeeding Counselors, and a few more for those active in Community Chapters. A PDF copy of the CCAR questions is available here. Although Volunteer Services does not accept paper reports, the PDF form can help Breastfeeding Counselors familiarize themselves with the type of data they need to report each month. Breastfeeding Counselors can also use this PDF form as a paper record to summarize contacts and statistics in their helping log each month.
Reporting Helping and Casual Contacts
Reporting all contacts is the core of the CCAR. Aggregated statistics from the CCAR can be used in grant proposals and discussions in local communities to demonstrate exactly how Breastfeeding USA is supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies. Helping contacts include phone conversations, email or text/instant messaging conversations, and personal visits with breastfeeding or pregnant mothers who request information or support. If you help the same mother multiple times (several phone calls or emails about the same, related, or different problems), count each occurrence as a separate direct contact, which allows Breastfeeding USA to track ALL the helping contacts made by Breastfeeding Counselors. Since some agencies may be interested in knowing how many different mothers are helped by Breastfeeding USA, the CCAR also asks how many of the mothers were helped for the first time.
Casual contacts are mentions of breastfeeding information or Breastfeeding USA that are not in response to a specific request for information. Examples include running into a pregnant woman in the grocery store, discussing breastfeeding with other mothers at the playground, or mentioning Breastfeeding USA at a doctor’s office. Breastfeeding Counselors who speak at health care professional conferences or other public events (such as a Baby Fair) about breastfeeding or Breastfeeding USA should count the session participants as casual contacts as well. While casual contacts may not provide direct support for a breastfeeding mother and baby, they do serve our mission by providing general breastfeeding information to the public and by promoting breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. Breastfeeding Counselors do not need to mention Breastfeeding USA to count as a casual contact. However, those who also work on behalf of other breastfeeding support or advocacy organizations and/or paid employment in a lactation-related field should not include casual contacts which are made in relation to other organizations. Breastfeeding Counselors who are not working professionally in the lactation field and have no affiliations with other breastfeeding organizations should include all their casual mentions of breastfeeding, as these all support the Breastfeeding USA mission.
Breastfeeding Counselors need to report their direct and casual contact statistics as accurately as possible. Maintaining a running log throughout the month simplifies reporting when the CCAR is due.
Reporting Continuing Education
Breastfeeding Counselors are required to participate in continuing education programs to demonstrate that they are current with the latest evidence-based information about breastfeeding. The CCAR tracks Breastfeeding Counselors’ participation in continuing education programs and collects information about the number of Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) earned in different categories: lactation-specific (L-CERPs); ethics-related (E-CERPs); and related learning that is not lactation- or breastfeeding-specific (R-CERPs). Volunteer Services collects this data from the CCAR and sends it to the Continuing Education Workgroup in the Education Committee to ensure that all BCs meet their Continuing Education Requirement. After attending continuing education programs, report the number of CERPs earned in each category and use the text entry box on the CCAR to provide more information about the program.
Reporting Community Chapter Activities
The final section of the CCAR collects statistics about activities sponsored by Community Chapters. Most importantly, Breastfeeding USA tracks attendance at Community Chapter support group meetings and other events. Breastfeeding Counselors are encouraged to keep a sign-in sheet or attendance log at meetings and events, both to collect accurate statistics and to facilitate follow-up contact after the event as appropriate. In addition to statistics, the CCAR provides a text box to record the event meeting location and thoughts about the event to share with the BC Support Team. As they gather notes about successful events, the BC Support Team can share helpful information with Breastfeeding Counselors starting Community Chapters.
For Community Chapters with more than one Breastfeeding Counselor, the Breastfeeding Counselors should coordinate to ensure that event and meeting statistics are accurately counted (and not overstated). One way to split up reporting is to have each Breastfeeding Counselor report attendance for the activities and meetings that she personally conducts or hosts, in addition to her personal direct helping and casual contacts statistics.
Similar to the helping contacts statistics, Breastfeeding USA collects statistics on ALL attendees at events, as well as how many of those are first-time attendees, which allows Breastfeeding USA to report how many different people have been supported. In the final section of the CCAR, Breastfeeding Counselors also report information about social-networking activities, such as groups and chat forums sponsored by a Community Chapter. Breastfeeding USA encourages Chapters to use Facebook, Yahoo Groups, and other tools to promote discussion among mothers. By sharing this information, Breastfeeding Counselors can provide helpful information for other other Chapters seeking to use social media in their communities.