DULCE (Developmental Understanding Legal Collaboration for Everyone) is a program in which a Family Specialist is placed at Appleseed Pediatrics to proactively address social determinants of health to promote healthy development of infants from birth to six months of age and provide support to their parents.

Developmental Understanding:  Promoting parent knowledge of child development and parenting

Legal Collaboration:Helping families understand their legal rights to meet their basic needs

for Everyone: Reaching families (regardless of financial need) where they already bring their babies

Core Elements of DULCE:

  • Universal Access: All newborns at Appleseed Pediatrics are offered DULCE services
  • Family Specialist:A Lamoille Family Center employee is part of the primary care team. She meets with and is available for all families of infants, birth to six months
  • Medical-Legal Partnership:A Vermont Legal Aid lawyer advises and supports the Family Specialist and the team
  • Parents as Partners:A parent representative is a member of the quality improvement team
  • Community Connections: DULCE is part of the Children’s Integrated Services system to provide ongoing support as needed

TEAM APPROACH: DULCE brings together an experienced and highly skilled inter-disciplinary team that includes a:

  • Pediatrician
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner
  • Family specialist
  • Lawyer, and
  • Early childhood development professional

This team provides a complementary layer of additional support in pediatric care.

DULCE is incorporated into clinical practice at Appleseed Pediatrics for families of infants birth to six months. The DULCE Family Specialist is teamed with the provider at all well-child visits and helps connect patients and their family members to concrete supports in the community, therefore extending the medical care provided. She asks families about social needs and issues like maternal depression, which the American Academy of Pediatrics considers critical to the pediatric well-child visit.  The DULCE family specialist “extends the medical visit beyond the exam room.”  The DULCE family specialist also works closely with the Family Center’s Children’s Integrated Services team to ensure consistent messaging and warm hand-offs should the family continue to receive services beyond the infant’s 6 month birthday.

Appleseed Pediatrics is one of several practices within the Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley.

To learn more about DULCE, or to enroll, contact:

Appleseed Pediatrics  609 Washington Highway Morrisville, VT 05661       802-888-7337 (PEDS)