Act Early Network News, Fall 2020 Issue

September 269, 2020

Fall 2020 Issue

NEWS FROM ACT EARLY NETWORK PARTNERS
   
Act Early-COVID-19 Response Teams Funded

43 State and Territorial Act Early /COVID-19 Response Teams have recently been awarded a one-year grant opportunity for support for Early Childhood State System through the Act Early Network. This nationwide initiative is focused on support for Early childhood state systems through the Act Early Network to support recovery and strengthen resilience skills, behaviors, and resources of children, families, and communities. This support opportunity is expected to bolster and evaluate the integration of parent-engaged developmental monitoring using "Learn the Signs. Act Early." (LTSAE) in at least one high-reach statewide program serving families with young children (birth to age 5), as well as advance the promotion and distribution of relevant, existing tools, materials, and programs to improve resiliency among families with young children during COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts.

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Act Early Ambassador Program Expansion

This month AUCD expanded the footprint of the Act Early Ambassador Program, Learn the Signs. Act Early. Ambassadors: Angela Scott (Arkansas), Elaine Eclavea (Guam), Lori Orr (Illinois), Synthia Britton (Michigan), Sharon Loza (North Carolina), Claire Niday (Texas), and Jackie Newson (West Virginia). 60 Act Early Ambassadors now represent every state in the nation in addition to several territories. Act Early Ambassadors expand the reach of the Learn the Signs. Act Early. program and support their respective state/territory's work toward improving early identification. They serve as a regional point of contact and promote the adoption of Learn the Signs. Act Early. resources into systems that serve young children and their families.

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Marking a Milestone for CDC's Milestone Tracker App: Archived Webinar Available

CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." (LTSAE) program will provide an in-depth update on the current status of its unique developmental monitoring tool, CDC's Milestone Tracker app. The program developed the Milestone Tracker app to help parents and providers practice developmental monitoring in a regular, ongoing way. The app has recently reached a "milestone moment" of over half a million downloads and, to recognize this occasion, this webinar will share background information on the app, highlight app metrics to date, and provide recommendations on ways to integrate the app into systems and programs that serve young children. Watch the archived webinar to learn more about the impact of CDC's Milestone Tracker app to date, and how your program can take part!

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John Tschida Begins New Role as AUCD Executive Director

The Board of Directors and the Search Committee are pleased to announce, following a competitive national search, John Tschida is the Association's next Executive Director. John has served as AUCD's Interim Director for the previous nine months. During his tenure, he led the organization through a series of important accomplishments. JohnTschida, MPP, has spent more than 20 years using data and research to drive policy change and service development for individuals with disabilities. John assumed the position, effective September 1st. AUCD is eager to begin the next chapter of growth and impact for the organization.Continue reading about John Tschida's new role as Executive Director!

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NEWS FROM THE ACT EARLY NETWORK
   
Utilizing Therapy Students to Educate Families on the Milestone Tracker App at Local WIC centers

In Springfield, Massachusetts, Occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) students visited local Women, Infant and Children (WIC) centers to educate families in the waiting rooms on the CDC's Milestone Tracker app, which helps to monitor developmental milestones for early identification of delays. Visiting the WIC centers provided a volunteer experience both interacting with a lower economic and a predominantly Spanish speaking population.

A total of 40 Likert scale anonymous surveys (1-5 Likert scale with 5= strongly agree) were completed and students responded favorably to all questions. 85% of students responded that the WIC experience was impactful in increasing understanding of diverse populations (M=4.3) and 87.5% of students responded that the WIC experience was a positive multicultural experience (M=4.5). 100% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the community experience increased their knowledge of the role WIC plays in lower income families (M=4.6).

The MA Act Early Ambassador has shared WIC contacts across the state with other OT programs encouraging student involvement at the WIC centers, as this is a great opportunity for all. The WIC sites involved do not currently implement the milestones checklists. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

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New Help for Families Dealing with Opioid Exposure

What can you do if your baby, or a loved one’s baby, has neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)? How can a toddler’s development be affected by NAS? Where can Minnesotans find support?

Two 2019/20 MNLEND fellows from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration recently launched an interactive online learning tool that educates families and other caregivers about in-utero opioid exposure and connects them to resources and information.

Tips on maintaining skin-to-skin contact with infants and accessing early enrichment services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate are offered, along with an interactive quiz that tests users’ knowledge about NAS before and after reviewing the site.

Fellows Bridget Winchester and Catie Mapa led a team of others from ICI on the project. “Our goal is to … create connections for families and individuals during vulnerable times,” they wrote in a project description. Winchester said the team started by providing opioid resources alone but expanded the focus to include resources for food pantries, domestic violence services and other community resources after speaking with families. “It’s powerful to see how interconnected all these things are.”

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Virginia’s Public Awareness Campaign Features Customized “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Resources

In the winter of 2018, the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia began a project to revitalize its public awareness materials. As part of this project, the program replaced its developmental milestones brochure entitled "Parents are the first to know", with the CDC's “Milestones Brochure: Track Your Child’s Developmental Milestones.” This change expanded the reach of the program’s current public awareness materials beyond English and Spanish readers to share developmental milestone information with families and providers that read/speak Korean, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole readers as well.

The Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia’s customized CDC Milestone Brochure is currently available on our website (www.infantva.org) to order and print. Since the product’s completion, over 34,000 English and Spanish brochures have been printed and over 10,000 have been distributed across the state of Virginia. In addition, local programs, parents, and referral sources are able to access the Milestone Brochure in the additional languages on our program website. Staff in the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia’s central office have worked closely with Virginia’s Learn the Signs. Act Early Ambassador, Deana Buck, on a variety of activities over the years, including this new initiative.

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RESOURCES YOU CAN USE
   
Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP): Funding Opportunity

The Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP) supports innovative, community-based initiatives to improve the health status of infants, children, adolescents, and families in rural and other underserved communities by increasing their access to preventive care and services. This program supports the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) goals to improve access to quality health services, achieve health equity, and enhance population health. Recipients will implement community-based programs and evidence-based models of care that build on existing community resources and evaluate to demonstrate program impact. Learn more about this funding opportunity and the application process.

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Increasing Early Childhood Screening in Primary Care Through a Quality Improvement Collaborative

Multiple early childhood screenings are recommended, but gaps persist in implementation. The aim for this project was to improve screening, discussion, referral, and follow-up of development, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), maternal depression, and social determinants of health (SDoH) to 90% by July 2018. In this paper they discuss practices that successfully implemented multiple screenings and demonstrated improvement in subsequent discussion, referral, and follow-up steps.

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National Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center

The prenatal-to-3 period of development sets the foundation for all future health and wellbeing. The science of the developing child is clear: Infants and toddlers need loving, stimulating, stable, and secure care environments with limited exposure to adversity. The annual Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap is a first-of-its-kind guide that state leaders can use to develop and implement the most effective policies to strengthen their state’s prenatal-to-3 (PN-3) system of care.

Explore the different components of the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap below. To download the PDF Roadmap and state profiles, go directly to Complete Roadmap. Watch the archived 2020 National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit and share the Roadmap with your colleagues and networks! Click for the share toolkit (PDF).

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NWA Secures Continued WIC Flexibilities throughout COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an extension of WIC flexibilities until thirty days after the end of the nationally-declared public health emergency. Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association, issued the following statement in response.

“WIC providers adapted swiftly to continue vital nutrition and breastfeeding support for pregnant and postpartum women, babies, and young children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all while minimizing in-person contact to keep families and clinic staff safe. With Congressional authority soon set to expire, USDA is making the right choice to extend essential health and safety flexibilities for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.. " Continue reading to learn more about how this change in how WIC operates has been an important access point for families of young children during COVID-19.

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Making Sense of Governance in Early Childhood

Research increasingly shows that the first five years of life are a critical period for child development. States have responded by ramping up the availability of services supporting early childhood development. But historically funding for those services has been spread across multiple state agencies, which makes it difficult for communities and service providers to ensure that families are getting what they need. As a result, states are increasingly focused on how they can rethink their governance systems to improve child and family outcomes.

This report includes a decision guide that identifies key issues states may want to think about in designing their early childhood governance and highlights some of the tradeoffs states will have to wrestle with. Continue reading to learn how states are working to strengthen their governance to ensure that children and families are supported.

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Advancing Racial and Ethnic Equity in Head Start

The Advancing Racial and Ethnic Equity in Head Start Webinar Series promotes anti-bias and ant-racism strategies Head Start and Early Head Start programs can use in their practices, services, and systems. It builds upon foundations in the Multicultural Principles for Early Childhood Leaders and the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

It also complements Head Start's History of anti-racism in action. Watch the webinars to reflect om individuals perspectives and recommit to building program environments that communicates genuine care, value, and respect for all children, families, and staff. Continue reading to learn more about this informative webinar series.

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News from Act Early Network Partners

Funding of 43 Act Early/COVID-19 Response Teams

Act Early Ambassador Program Expansion

Marking a Milestone for CDC's Milestone Tracker App: Archived Webinar Available

John Tschida Begins New Role as AUCD Executive Director

News from the Act Early Network

Utilizing Therapy Students to Educate Families on the Milestone Tracker App at Local WIC centers

New Help for Families Dealing with Opioid Exposure 

Virginia's Public Awareness Campaign Features Customized "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Resources

Resources

Health Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP): Funding Opportunity

Increasing Early Childhood Screening in Primary Care Through a Quality Improvement Collaborative

National Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center 

NWA Secures Continued WIC Flexibilities throughout COVID-19 Pandemic

Making Sense of Governance in Early Childhood

Advancing Racial and Ethnic Equity in Head Start

Would you like to share important Act Early updates or innovative practices from your state, program or organization?


Submit your updates for the next Act Early Network News (Winter 2021) by emailing Danielle Webber ([email protected]).