Dodge County

The beginning.

Before Rooted in Relationships was granted to the Fremont community, Dodge County had supports in place that included Sixpence and 21st Century Program (both of which were with Fremont Public Schools), as well as funding for PIWI (Parents Interacting with Infants) and PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy). When the Fremont Family Coalition conducted the first service array (community assessment), the group found there was a gap in meeting the social and emotional needs of the children in the community. Strategies were identified to help meet this gap, but the community was unaware of how to actually address those strategies. Rooted in Relationships allowed this to happen. RiR was also attractive to the Fremont community because stakeholders were looking for ways to get kids ready to enter school as well as provide quality child care to families in the community.

The process.

Through the Fremont Family Coalition, the School Readiness and School Success committees came together and helped with the planning and implementation of Rooted in Relationships. The committees included representatives from Head Start, Sixpence, Fremont Public Schools, ESU, school resource officers, and the 21st Century program. In the second year of Rooted implementation, Dodge County moved to calling this group the Rooted Stakeholder Team, made up of individuals who have an impact in early childhood. Eventually, the community would like to also include board members from participating child care centers.

Currently, the community is in year two of implementation. The efforts include five active child care centers and two in-home providers. There are eight providers who are receiving monthly coaching in the Pyramid Model from four coaches who have experience ranging from a former child care director to mental health therapist.

Initiative goals.

The Fremont community’s overall goal for Rooted in Relationships is to improve child care quality for all children and families by utilizing the Pyramid Model and engaging in the social and emotional well-being of those children. Part of this goal also entails teaching parents what quality care should look like and how they can see quality at work in child care centers. The community is also striving to promote Step Up to Quality not only with daycare directors and providers but also the parents who will need to be educated on Step Up to Quality.

Making it work.

After two years of implementation, the Fremont community hopes to see more gains in meeting children’s social and emotional needs, more parents engaged with the Pyramid Model, and more use of those techniques at home. The county also wants directors and providers to be connecting families that are in need to other resources within the community (such as PIWI and PCIT) as well as implementing the strategies learned at the module trainings and during their coaching time into their classroom.