Coming into the Rooted in Relationships Initiative, Saline County had several community strengths around social and emotional supports for young children, including Sixpence funding and programs through Crete Public Schools. Crete Public Schools invited Public Health Solutions (PHS) to a meeting about early childhood mental health, and from that dialogue, a stakeholder group was formed. Community stakeholders from schools, child care programs, health care providers, law enforcement, public health organizations, parents, and other advocacy groups have all signed on to this collaborative effort.
Working together, gaps and opportunities were identified in the existing services for young children and their families. The Rooted in Relationships Initiative in Saline County has now entered into their third year of Pyramid Model implementation, and after many conversations, it was decided to expand the initiative into neighboring Jefferson County.
The initial planning process took 6-months and brought together stakeholders to review data from existing community assessments, the Early Childhood System of Care Self-Assessment, and data from a parent survey given in both English and Spanish. Primary gaps and needs originally identified included parent networking/support, screenings (who/where/referral), language barriers, treatment for substance abuse/mental health, preschool capacity, and training for child care providers. From this planning process, the foundation for the Saline County Work Plan was formed. Since then, Saline County providers have completed two years of Pyramid Model implementation, Circle of Security Parenting classes have been active for two years, and a screening tool has been selected for use in providers’ offices.
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation gave the Saline County group the opportunity to expand the number of providers being served in Saline County or to expand the initiative beyond the county line. Preliminary data was assessed, and the stakeholder group chose to expand to neighboring Jefferson County. Jefferson County is now in its first year of Pyramid Model implementation, and the Stakeholder group has resumed meeting with a renewed focus on engaging stakeholders from both counties into a collaborative Rooted in Relationships group. Moving forward, Saline County sustainability and Jefferson County systems work will be the main focus.
The Rooted in Relationships Stakeholder Group envisions a community where every infant, toddler and young child will experience positive social & emotional development.
The overall goal for the work is to try to address as many of the identified gaps as possible and to implement the long-range plan successfully. It is the hope of the stakeholder group to create an infrastructure that will last after the funding has been expended. The stakeholder group determined three objectives that guide their work:
- Implement the Pyramid Model in Saline County Early Childcare settings
- Implement Circle of Security Training for parents in Saline County
- Identify current screening tools, including maternal depression screening tools, for Social Emotional Development in children ages 0-8
Making it work.
Objective #1 has been the objective with the most activity; currently, 11 providers (both center-based and in-home providers) in Saline County are entering into year three of Pyramid Model implementation. In year three, two training modules are prescribed; one training was completed in September and the next is coming up in March. Providers have graduated from intensive coaching and are now meeting with two coaches on an as-needed basis.
For Objective #2, a team of Circle of Security Parenting facilitators are meeting regularly to plan and lead classes throughout the public health district, with a special focus on Saline County. We have classes led in both English and Spanish, as well as classes that are funded through the Rooted in Relationships initiative and through community agencies.
Objective #3 was the topic of much discussion in the first year of this initiative. After much review of data from various screening tools, the Survey for the Wellbeing of Young Children (SWYC) was selected. Currently, Sixpence in Crete is piloting this tool and finding great results. A medical office was trained in its use, and we are working to implement this in a more seamless manner. Because this tool focuses on social emotional development, the stakeholders group found it imperative to create a referral directory in the case of a child being flagged. This was created by the group, as well, and has been very helpful in guiding families to the right resource for them.
Jefferson County is currently only focused on Objective #1 – the implementation of the Pyramid Model. 14 providers are enrolled in year one of implementation and all of these providers are center-based at the same center (with one provider working in Saline County). In year one, four training modules are prescribed; two were completed in August and November, and the next two are scheduled for February and April. Additionally, providers are meeting regularly with two early childhood coaches who have experience with the model.
Further objectives for Jefferson County will be decided upon future meetings of the combined Stakeholder Group.
Find out more about the Saline County Work Plan