The Hall County Community Collaborative (H3C) has been working since 2005 to develop and sustain infrastructure and build relationships necessary for prevention system change. This work has been undertaken with funding and technical assistance from Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. The work of the H3C is braided with the work of its partners to provide a continuum of services for youth ages 0 to 24 years of age in order to increase protective factors and reduce risk factors in youth and families.
In 2013, Hall, Buffalo, and Dawson County representatives conducted community-based needs assessments to identify the need for evidence-based home visitation as well as opportunities to strengthen the early childhood system of care in the respective counties. Through this process, the county representatives mapped the assets of existing early childhood systems, completed readiness assessments for multiple health districts, gathered and analyzed existing data of risk factors to child well-being, and identified barriers to strengthening and enhancing the early childhood system of care. Although these efforts did not result in a funded project through the Department of Health and Human Services, it enabled Hall County to identify the need to provide social-emotional support for families with very young children as well as local child care centers serving the families.
As a result, the Rooted in Relationships/Pyramid Model initiative offered an opportunity for the H3C to meet the service gaps identified in 2013 and 2014. RiR gives child care centers and families access to comprehensive health and well-being education for young children through trained adults and meets the social-emotional needs of young children. It’s also a workforce development initiative that strengthens the classroom skills of child care teachers and directors. These skills can then be shared with parents and with teachers in classrooms that do not have an RiR coach, build personal skills of child care staff as employees, and be used as a parent/staff recruiting tool for child care centers.
The Birth to 11 Subcommittee assisted with planning for the Rooted in Relationships/Pyramid project and acts as the Advisory Committee for the Rooted in Relationships and Sixpence initiatives; monitors changes and gaps in services for children and families; oversees Families and Schools Together (FAST); promotes Community Cafes; and supports community initiatives that align with H3C work.
The committee is composed of representatives from RiR, DHHS, Early Development Network, Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS), GIPS Early Learning Center, Sixpence, Head Start/Early Head Start, child care centers, Central Community College Early Childhood Program, Grand Island Public Library, Educational Service Unit 10, and other community groups. Wide representation enables the group to look at early childhood development as a system and address gaps and barriers as identified, problem-solve, and better coordinate efforts to serve families with young children.
H3C has a number of goals for its Rooted in Relationships implementation, including:
- Helping child care directors and classroom teachers develop skills and knowledge to create high-quality supportive learning environments
- Developing social-emotional competence in children
- Developing skills in the early childhood workforce that can be transferred between child care centers and to other employment
- Ensuring families and child care staff have access to other early childhood development resources in the community
Making it work.
Rooted in Relationships in Hall County just finished its first year on June 30, 2016. In Year 2, participants will include three child care centers and one in-home care center for a total of 16 classrooms. Grand Island has one lead coach, two coaches, and an extra coach providing coach support. Two coaches are planning to attend Circle of Security Training in Lincoln in Spring 2017. The Early Childhood System of Care Community Assessment and Parent Surveys were completed by Sixpence and EDN parents. However, there was subcommittee consensus that we need a better representation of parents, especially in the RiR child cares. Another series of surveys will be sent out to parents in the next six months.
The Birth to 11 Subcommittee is committed to embedding Circle of Security in Hall County and working with CHI-Saint Francis to send community professionals to spring training. In addition, the subcommittee will work with CHI-Saint Francis to recruit participants for a series of community workshops about Circle of Security to educate professionals and community groups on the impact of CoS and ensure that referrals are made to sessions in the coming years.