TEAM for West Virginia Children, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Strengthening Families West Virginia and the Center for the Study of Social Policy are excited to announce a new community-level project to increase the likelihood that all young children reach their full potential within nurturing and supportive communities. Cabell and Randolph counties were selected to pilot the use the Early Learning Community Digital Progress Rating Tool to develop an Early Learning Community Action Plan that builds on existing work related to early childhood, Strengthening Families, and community development.
For more than 10 years, programs in West Virginia have used the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework to guide efforts with early care providers and family support programs to engage families and support family well-being. Research shows that the five Protective Factors (Parental Resilience, Concrete Supports in Times of Need, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, Social Connections, and Social & Emotional Competence of Children) are all linked with improved outcomes for children and families. For more info about the protective factors and Strengthening Families WV, visit www.strengtheningfamilieswv.org.
During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, we know it is a critical time when communities are coming together to support children and families. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors are more important than ever in helping families thrive and mitigate the potential negative impacts caused by this pandemic. COVID-19 has revealed structural inequities impacting the health and well-being of our state’s families and children. Many families were already struggling, and this pandemic is now more than they can manage. But the good news is that the pandemic is also bringing people together to meet the needs of families and support child development.
The project will take the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework to the next level through broader “place-based” partnerships and Early Learning Community strategic tools, designed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy in collaboration with the National League of Cities and others who make up the national Early Learning Nation partnership. For more information about Early Learning Nation, please visit http://earlylearningnation.com/.
The project will review the Early Learning Nation 4 key building blocks and the work the community is already doing in these areas and how to build on that capacity using the Strengthening Families protective factors. Early Learning Nation’s four key building blocks form the foundation of an Early Learning Community. They are based on years of deep research on what young children and their families need and point us toward a wide range of ways communities can promote healthy child development and family well-being.
- Building Block 1 Commitment to Early Childhood: The community prioritizes and invests in ensuring that all young children thrive.
- Building Block 2 Quality Services that Work for All: All children and families have access to the high-quality services and supports they need.
- Building Block 3 Neighborhoods Where Families Can Thrive: Families live in neighborhoods where their children can grow up safe and healthy.
- Building Block 4 Policies that Support Families: Local policies create a broad framework of support for all families with young children.
This is an opportunity to build on Cabell County Partners in Prevention experience with Strengthening Families, which Cabell County Family Resource Network led the way on for Strengthening Families initiative and did the first WV pilot project in early childhood programs in 2007. Cabell Co. FRN continues to be involved in the national SF training initiative in WV.
Time frame: Early Learning Community Work from August to October 2020
- Convene discussions about each of the 4 Building Blocks
- Commitment to Early Childhood: The community prioritizes and invests in ensuring that all young children thrive.
- Quality Services that Work for All: All children and families have access to the high-quality services and supports they need.
- Neighborhoods Where Families Can Thrive: Families live in neighborhoods where their children can grow up safe and healthy.
- Policies that Support Families: Local policies create a broad framework of support for all families with young children.
- Community programs and parents can create a log in to complete assessments with Digital Progress Rating Tool https://progressratingtool.earlylearningnation.com/
- Create a log in account to complete the online questions from a computer. NOTE: The online survey is not able to be completed on a mobile device.
- Select local community – Cabell County Partners in Prevention.
- Once started, each survey will save automatically, and you can return later to complete it.
- Share this process with others to complete
This process will identify areas of action currently going on and/ or ways to improve how families are getting support. For links to local Cabell County initiative log in information, go to www.cabellfrn.org.
This program is being presented with financial assistance as grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to the Cabell County Family Resource Network Partners in Prevention project.