Healthy Families Durham seeks referrals and continues to serve young children and families under new leadership

by Administrator 17. July 2014 10:33

Jan Williams has served as Program Director at Healthy Families Durham since 1999. On July 1, 2014, she moved into the role of Clinical Supervisor, transitioning her former responsibilities into the extremely capable hands of Karen Carmody, Program Director, and Tomeika Watson, Program Manager. The program, one of the Partnership’s Smart Start funded partners, continues to thrive and expand its reach throughout Durham, serving more and more young children and families each year.


L-R: Carmody, Watson, Williams

Healthy Families Durham (HFD) offers voluntary early childhood intervention services through an intensive home visiting program designed to prevent child abuse, improve parent/child interaction, and increase parenting skills. HFD serves families with multiple stressors from pregnancy through 3 years of age using the Parents as Teachers curriculum in the home to enhance child development, health and safety. Family support workers see families in their home on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for up to 3 years and also provide families with case management services to connect them to appropriate community resources. 

Now part of the Center for Child & Family Health, HFD began in 1996 with just three family support workers. Today, the program has more than tripled in size, employing 11 family support workers and serving 150 families a year.  The transition in leadership this month has been seamless, thanks to the meticulously thought-out and intentional changes put in place by the staff in order to maintain continuity with families and high quality services. 

“I’m really proud of how Healthy Families Durham has grown and evolved. It truly began as a community initiative to prevent child abuse, and while that is still a focus of ours, we’ve really grown the program to include all aspects of child development and family support,” said Carmody.

Each family receives services tailored to their individual needs, and HFD family support workers, many of whom have been trained in Touchpoints and Triple P, employ a variety of evidence-based programs. In addition to the Healthy Families model (using the Parents as Teachers curriculum), families benefit from other programs such as Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) Intervention – for children ages 6 to 24 months who have experienced early adversity – and Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) – a trauma-focused intervention for children birth to 5 years old and parents who have experienced interpersonal violence.  

In order to best serve each family, HFD works closely with other local early childhood organizations such as Durham Connects, Durham Early Head Start, East Durham Children’s Initiative, and Duke Children’s Primary Care. All of these organizations share referrals and collaborate closely in order to find the best fit for every child and parent in need. 

In addition to referrals from organizations such as these, HFD also receives a large number of self-referrals. “We love when we get self-referrals,” said Watson, as she explained that many come as a result of positive word of mouth reviews from former participants, reaffirming the effectiveness of the program and the impact on the community. 

HFD currently has a relatively short waiting list and has several new staff members joining the team – including a bilingual CPP specialist – so now is the perfect time to make referrals for families in need of services.

As Williams said, “Healthy Families is in great shape and I couldn’t be happier or more confident as we shift into this transition. We are moving right along, and we’re ready to accept new families and continue to serve even more young children in Durham!”

To make a referral to Healthy Families Durham, please contact Tomeika Watson at 919-419-3474, ext 314. For more information about HFD and the Center for Child & Family Health, please click here.

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El Futuro toy drive

by Administrator 15. July 2014 15:47

El Futuro is in need of new and gently used toys! El Futuro provides mental health services to Latino families, and they are in need of toys to be used during therapy sessions with young children in our community. You can donate financially to this effort by clicking here, or you can drop off toys at any of El Futuro's locations (Durham, Carborro, Siler City) or designated El Futuro toy bin. See the flyer below or click here to see a list of the items they need most!

For more information about El Futuro and their services, please visit their website.

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Support Early Education Programs, Parents and Providers

by Administrator 8. July 2014 14:29

We are entering the final days of the legislative session, and the early education budget and programs will be decided this week. Budget conferees will meet to prepare their final recommendations prior to final budget vote. Now is the time for action!

Even if you have already done so, please contact the main Budget chairs and the Health and Human Services Committee chairs and urge them to keep early education programs, parents and providers a top priority. Please also send the same message to your own state legislator and ask them to let the Conferees know that early education is important to you and your community. 

Key issues and messages:

  1. Child care market rate adjustment
    Support the House budget language on child care market rate adjustments. Market rates haven't been adjusted since 2007, and private child care providers are struggling to provide high quality services and fewer young children and families are being served. 
  2. Child care subsidies
    Maintain child care eligibility for all working families, or at the vey least, keep income eligibility the same for all ages of children. It’s simple: when families can't afford child care, it becomes difficult for them to stay employed and their young children miss out on critical educational opportunities that they need to meet the state's academic and "Read to Achieve" goals. Click here for a chart illustrating income eligibility and how it will affect families.
  3. NC Pre-K
    Support the House and Senate budget proposals, as both provide for a needed expansion of NC Pre-k to serve more eligible children. NC Pre-K provides the last chance for disadvantaged 4 year-old children to get an early education boost prior to entering public school, and it helps to close the achievement gap and foster school success. 
  4. Child care subsidy allocation formula
    Update the allocation formula using current Census data so that all counties get the correct share of child care subsidies based on their current population. Support the House budget that uses current Census data, provides a 6 year phase-in period which will give all counties time to adjust, and requires counties to spend their child care subsidy allocation or forfeit additional funding to other counties.  

Contact the House and Senate Conferees today. Use the Coalition’s Action Center to send a prewritten message, or edit the message and send your own. Contact information for key budget conferees can also be found by clicking here.

We have an opportunity to advance early education this legislative session, and we need your active participation now to make it happen. Thank you for making your voice heard for young children and families!

RSVPs due today for the School Readiness Summit: Awareness, Advocacy and Action

by Administrator 7. July 2014 10:40

RSVPs for the School Readiness Summit are due today! Don't miss your chance to join this important conversation and help us improve school readiness for all children in Durham.

The transition to kindergarten is one of the most significant events that a young child experiences, and it lays the foundation for future success in school and life. A smooth transition to kindergarten is a shared responsibility among many individuals and institutions including children, families, teachers, schools and the community. 

At the School Readiness Summit: Awareness, Advocacy and Action, we will explore how all sectors of the community can contribute to improving school readiness in Durham. This special event features Ken Smythe-Leistico,a national leading expert on kindergarten transition and founder of the Ready Freddy Pathways to Kindergarten Success Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Together, we will learn how to blend strategies that tie parent engagement, child development, welcoming schools, and community support into a successful transition for all children in Durham. With Ken's guidance through interactive presentations and neighborhood-based action planning, you will leave with an understanding of your role in this collaborative effort and what you can do to help close the achievement gap.

Monday, July 21st
8:30am - 12:30 pm
The Durham Convention Center 

Eventbrite - School Readiness Summit: Awareness, Advocacy and Action

The School Readiness Summit is presented by Durham's Partnership for Children and Durham Public Schools and is sponsored in part by PNC Bank.

Durham County wins health prize

by Administrator 1. July 2014 16:41

Congratulations to Durham County for being named one of six winners of the 2014 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation!

The award honors communities that are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners and stakeholders to help residents live healthier lives, and Durham County received a cash prize of $25,000 for its commitment to building a culture of health. Durham was recognized for its innovative strategies to improve health, including collaboration between organizations to increase access to medical care, coordinated planning to create a healthier environment, and a focus on education and poverty in addition to disease as factors that impact health.

The RWJF award specifically recognizes the work of our partners at the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), whose programs aim to create a pipeline from cradle to college or career for children in East Durham. Through a broad range of neighborhood-based programs, EDCI promotes education, parent support, job training, and high quality child care among underserved populations, which in turn supports improved health outcomes.  

"Our community has worked tirelessly and collaboratively for many years to improve health in Durham County and now, our efforts are being recognized on a national level,” said Gayle B. Harris, Durham County public health director. “As a lifelong resident of Durham, this is truly a monumental achievement and every resident, regardless of whether they live in the city or county, should be proud of. As we continue to work together as ‘One Durham,’ there is no health disparity that we can’t overcome.”

Building a Culture of Health means building a society where getting healthy and staying healthy is a fundamental and guiding social value that helps define American culture. The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors communities which place a high priority on health and bring partners together to drive local change. 

“The RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners are leading some of the nation’s most innovative efforts to build a national Culture of Health,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “These communities are inspiring examples of what is possible when all sectors work together so that every resident has the opportunity to live a long and healthy life."

Congratulations again to Durham County on a wonderful recognition of this great effort to help make our children and families healthier and happier!

Exploring nature and learning through play

by Administrator 27. June 2014 12:19

By: Winnie Morgan, Faith Initiative Coordinator at Durham's Partnership for Children

As an adult, what do you remember about your early play experiences? I immediately think of the creek where we made dams and bridges with a variety of material laid across the water, the woods where we played “house” by creating rooms with stick boundaries, and riding bikes to our neighbor’s house (which was not close in the country!). Recently I had the opportunity to see the outdoor learning space at First Environments Early Learning Environment, a child development center that serves the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Environmental Health and Science, and their contractors.

    

It made me want to be a child again: to play, to explore, to create, to test my physical ability, to find a quiet space for my friend and me. Any observer could see this happening in this outdoor learning space as children made mud pies; sat under the shade of a tree sharing a popsicle with a friend; climbed and balanced on ropes strung from trees; and toddlers sat in sand piles just feeling the sand. It was amazing! And it was so energizing, not only for the children but for adults as well. Brains and muscles were SO engaged in every direction of the space as children learned on their own based on just the environment.

  

     

What has happened over the generations that exploring the outdoors and spontaneous play don’t happen naturally in a child’s life? Research shows that the average American child spends 44 hours per week with electronic media. Another statement I heard recently at the Reading ROCks workshop is that a child has spent enough time watching TV before they start school that they could have completed a college degree. WOW! And we wonder why our children are not as healthy or fit as generations past, or why they cannot entertain themselves without a gadget or a purchased toy? 

Outdoor experiences encourage imagination, creativity and a sense of wonder. How does that butterfly ever come from a caterpillar? What does a butterfly eat? Can I “fly” like a butterfly? One does not need an advanced degree to figure out how to enjoy the outdoors with children. Just do it! You will develop future citizens that want to be stewards of this earth, and you will help improve their physical, social and emotional, and overall wellbeing.

When I visit my 4 year old grandson, our adventures are always outside no matter what the season or weather is - we just adapt with clothing! Our favorite place is a park with a bamboo forest that has rock ledges where we always climb to the top. It is our place: a place where we can be creative as we pretend to be explorers, and a place that always stimulates our sense of wonder. Do you include fun nature experiences in the life of your children and grandchildren or in the life of the children that attend your child care center? If not, why not? 

To help you get started, this Sunday, June 29th is International Mud Day, when children all over the world will join together to enjoy one of the best investigation and invention materials available—mud! There’s no better time than now to go outside and learn!

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to children from birth

by Administrator 25. June 2014 13:53

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced yesterday that it will begin issuing the recommendation that parents should read aloud to their children from birth. This is the first time the Academy has officially weighed in on early literacy education. This new policy is part of a collaborative effort of the AAP, Too Small to Fail, Scholastic Inc., and Reach Out and Read to raise awareness among parents about early language development.

There are only 2,000 days between a child’s birth and the time that child enters kindergarten, and 90% of brain development happens in those first five years. Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development, and reading to children enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.  

But many low-income children are exposed to very little reading before entering school, and in fact, studies show that by age 3, children from more affluent families are exposed to 30 million more words than children from families receiving public assistance. Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand how the achievement gap is evident long before children start school. 

The AAP hopes to close this gap by asking its 62,000 members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud by encouraging parents each time they visit their child's doctor to read early and often.

According to the AAP, the effort takes a multi-pronged approach toward equipping parents with the best tools to ensure that their children are prepared to learn and ready to enter school:

  • Too Small to Fail and the AAP will share messages across their networks and media platforms about the importance of talking, reading out loud and singing to children from birth in order to build vocabulary and promote healthy brain development.
  • To jump start the partnership, Scholastic has donated 500,000 new, age-appropriate children's books for distribution through Reach Out and Read, the non-profit organization that works with 20,000 medical providers nationwide to promote early reading and give books to families at pediatric visits.
  • Reach Out and Read will also distribute a toolkit to be developed by the AAP, with support from Too Small to Fail, which will equip pediatricians with resources to educate parents on how to use everyday activities to improve communication with their infants and toddlers.

To read more about the AAP’s recommendations, please click here. If you are interested in helping to inspire a love of reading through our Readers as Leaders volunteer program, please click here or contact Krissy Dunn.

Durham Early Head Start receives federal review results

by Administrator 23. June 2014 10:10

The Partnership received results of its first federal triennial review of the Durham Early Head Start program from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). From Jan. 26 – 30, 2014, the ACF conducted a thorough monitoring review and found no area of noncompliance or need for corrective action. The Partnership acknowledges the superb work of all partners, collaborating agencies, and community contributors that ensure high quality services and program compliance.  

Every three years, each Head Start and Early Head Start program in the country must undergo a top-to-bottom review from federal monitors, known as the triennial review. The intensive review includes interviews with management and staff, classroom observations, parent interviews, and review of child and staff files and documentation. Monitors evaluate performance using key indicators in seven areas: program governance; management systems; fiscal integrity; eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, and attendance; child health and safety; family and community engagement; and child development and education.

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

In addition to showing full compliance with all Early Head Start regulations, reviewers took note of the innovative outdoor learning environments at all partnering Early Head Start child care sites.

Durham Early Head Start is a collaboration between the Partnership, Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project, Inc., the Center for Child &Family Health, and three local five-star child care partners. Early Head Start is a free, comprehensive child development and family support program for low-income expectant women and families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three. The program served 188 pregnant women, children and families in FY13. The Partnership became a grantee for the Durham Early Head Start program in 2009.

For more information about Durham Early Head Start, please click here.

Take action now to support child care subsidies for working families

by Administrator 18. June 2014 11:22

Child care subsidies are critically important for low-income working families.  Without affordable child care options, families cannot maintain employment and their young vulnerable children lose opportunities for high quality early learning education.

Both the House and Senate Budgets would change eligibility for child care subsidies that families rely on to be able to work and have peace of mind that their young children have access to high quality early education. Both would change income eligibility from 75% of state median income to 200% of federal poverty level (FPL) for children ages 0-5, and to 133% of federal poverty level for children ages 6-12.  These budget changes would result in 12,000 children losing their child care services now, and change eligibility for children and families in the future.

In Durham, as of April 2014, child care subsidies were paid for 2,172 children ages 0-5 and 865 children ages 6-12. If the income guidelines change, 43 children ages 0-5 and 248 children ages 6-12 would potentially no longer be eligible for services.

Take action now: 

  • Email the House and Senate Budget Appropriations leaders and tell them to protect child care subsidies for all working families and their young children ages 0-12 and maintain the current eligibility criteria.
    • Contact information for House and Senate Appropriations leaders and committee members can be found HERE
    • Send a message directly from the North Carolina Child Care coalition's Action Center HERE
  • Recommend these options to improve their budget proposals: 
    • Redefine young children from ages 0-5 to ages 0-8 to make sure young children remain safe with access to high quality early learning opportunities. 
    • Keep all families working with affordable child care options and eligible for child care subsidies until their incomes reach 200% of federal poverty level.

This is the critical time for action during the final days of the budget negotiation process. Use your own examples of how children, families and child care providers rely on child care every day, and click HERE for the North Carolina Child Care Coalition's talking points and more information. Visit the Coalition's Action Center for more resources, sign up to receive our advocacy updates, and join us on Facebook.

Most importantly, make your voices heard for early education and young children and families!


Celebrating success at the Partner Appreciation Breakfast

by Administrator 16. June 2014 13:18

This past Friday, we had the opportunity to honor our community partners and celebrate success at our Partner Appreciation Breakfast. More than 75 people attended the event, with representatives from our Smart Start partners, Durham Early Head Start, NC Pre-K, the Durham Touchpoints Collaborative, Early Childhood Faith Initiative, Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, and the Partnership’s Board of Directors. It was a wonderful gathering of friends as we celebrated the inspiring success of these programs and their work in preparing young children for success in school and life. 

     

As one way of celebrating success, we invited our partners to share a story with us. These motivating and moving presentations included everything from personal testimonies from teachers, to stories about the development of children with challenging behaviors and healthy classroom strategies, to a video featuring a mother who is able to continue her education knowing that her child is in high quality care. 

  

  

Linzie Atkins, Board Chair, then had an opportunity recognize each of our partners individually and thank them on behalf of the Partnership and the Board of Directors. Rounding out the morning was the highly anticipated drawing for some wonderful raffle prizes, all of which were donated by generous sponsors.

  

  

Thank you for celebrating with us as we thank each and every one of our Partners who work so hard for our young children and families in Durham!

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