Summary of 2017 work and accomplishments
Coordination of Services:
Transitions - Hub members discussed current processes for transitioning families when they complete a home visiting (HV) program and identified opportunities for promoting continued supports for families. This allowed some organizations to reflect on their current transition strategies and address organizational processes that needed updating.
Home Visiting Learning Community – The group discussed ideas to help home visitors connect with other home visitors to improve collaboration, transitions and shared understanding.
The first Home Visiting Learning Community meeting was held on March 12, 2018. 49 home visitors attended from 12 agencies. The agenda included networking, getting commitments to participate in an ongoing learning community, prioritizing learning opportunities based on needs of home visitors and families. Participants felt heard and appreciative of the opportunity to engage with others doing similar work. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with most home visitors excited about the opportunities to work more closely together with each other. This initial learning community event started by identifying that 872 children had been served through the home visiting programs in attendance (not including the 1,250 children reached through Raising a Reader).
Plans for 2018 include providing quarterly learning community opportunities focused on building local capacity to provide trauma-informed care, highlight local best practice, and continue networking so that referrals and transitions are improved.
Presentation on how Calhoun Intermediate School District data showed the cumulative impact of a child’s participation in ISD programming – Home Visits, Play Groups, Raising a Reader/Great Start Readiness Program – on fall kindergarten testing.
The conversation on transitions led us to identify the need to keep families connected to early childhood resources. We held training for Hub members on how the Birth-2-Five Services Application can benefit families.
Allow each child to be assigned a UIC (unique identification code) which would follow the child into the K-12 system. Five agencies agree to assist their families to complete the Birth-to-Five Services Application.
Keep families connected and ensure they are offered kindergarten readiness and preschool supports. The Birth-to-Five Services Application will include a box where all home visiting organizations who agree to participation in this data collection collaboration can record the client’s participation in their home visiting program.
Group agreed that there are difficulties connecting families with Early On such as being unsure of the process and long wait times between referral and parent contact. In response, Early Childhood Connections has two coaches that are working with Early On who can help families work through problems. It was discovered that the best referral process is to have parent complete application on line and then call Early On.
Plans for 2018: Collect and store developmental data to assess community impact. All HV programs have similar processes for developmental screening: all HV programs use the ASQ – 3 (Ages and Stages Questionnaire), screen children multiple times per year, use a combination of parent report and child observation, provide follow-up activities for parents and refer to Early On if child scores in the black area after parent works with child on targeted activities. Complete ASQ scores will not need to be recorded in Birth- to-Five database. Only Yes/No on-track (in white or gray zone) is needed. .
Response to Family Voice:
The group acknowledged that required data collection on the first home visit sometimes harms relationship building.
We completed a Fast Five Survey asking “How would you change our first home visit together?” from at least two clients from each home visiting program.
Results: Most families were satisfied with how the initial call and meeting was handled. They understood the need for paperwork/data collection. The group identified ways that can make the process less uncomfortable for families
- Home Visitor to share the reason that questions are asked
- Home Visitor to tell families that they can decline to answer a question
- Make the process conversational.
- Use the information collected as a teachable moment.
- Group shared ways they connected with clients on the phone and at the first home visit. Main theme was the importance of hearing from the client first and then sharing how the program might meet her needs.
COFI (Community Organizing and Family Issues) is a standing agenda item as a way to gather family voice.
COFI helps to build family-supportive communities by developing parents’ capacities to lead – to improve their lives, strengthen their families and better their communities. By encouraging parents to address their personal goals and dreams, COFI helps parents recognize that skills honed as a parent can translate to leadership skills in the larger community.
Locally, family leaders have been trained on the COFI model and have begun their work to better their community. These family leaders have named their team the Calhoun County COOL Connection, with COOL standing for Community Organizing Opportunities for Leadership. The Calhoun County COOL Connection will be working to spread the word on Early Childhood programs and will focus on bullying prevention with their "I'm a Buddy not a Bully" campaign.
A second training cohort will be announced soon.