2017 National Survey of Children’s Health Data Release
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced that data from the 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) is now available. A brief overview of the 2017 NSCH, and new estimates of key child health indicators, are found in the NSCH Fact Sheet. This voluntary survey, funded and directed by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), provides annual national- and state-level estimates of key measures of children’s health and well-being.

Complex Systems Change Starts with Those Who Use the Systems
A new piece from the Stanford Social Innovation Review describes how funders and others can better support the involvement of those who use social services in service design and implementation. And by doing so, they can generate more meaningful, systems-level impact.

Access to Early Care and Education for Low-Income Hispanic Children and Families
Despite an increase in their use of early care and education (ECE) programs and services, low-income Hispanic families with limited English language ability still face barriers to access. A new report from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families synthesizes the latest research on ECE access for Hispanic families in the United States and highlights the factors that facilitate or impede access of low-income populations to ECE opportunities.

Effective State Strategies to Help Children and Families Affected by Opioids
The opioid epidemic has devastating consequences for families, with growing social and financial implications for states. NASHP, in partnership with the Alliance for Early Success, interviewed Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Virginia officials from Medicaid, child welfare, and behavioral health programs to find out how they are strengthening programs to better serve young children and families, and what federal and state funding is available for these initiatives. Read NASHP’s blog about state and federal efforts to combat the epidemic and read the new report to find out what state strategies are succeeding.

Parenting Knowledge Translates to Strong Parenting Practice
Research demonstrates a strong link between what parents know about parenting and child development and how they behave with their children. Parents with more knowledge are more likely to engage in positive parenting practices, whereas those with limited knowledge are at greater risk of negative parenting behaviors. Consequently, many parenting programs and services for families with infants and toddlers aim to improve parents’ knowledge of child development and healthy caregiving practices. A new literature review from Child Trends on parenting knowledge found that parents desired high-quality knowledge on early childhood development and parenting—and had clear preferences for how they wanted to receive this information—but their opinions were rarely considered by researchers or practitioners. To address this gap, Child Trends conducted focus groups with racially, ethnically, and economically diverse groups of first-time parents of infants and toddlers.

Coverage and Financing of CYSHCN & Care Coordination
The Catalyst Center has created a one-page infographic illustrating important elements of inequities in coverage and financing of care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN). This infographic touches on several subgroups that are less likely to be adequately insured and face a greater risk for adverse health effects as a result. A second infographic by the Center illustrates important elements of care coordination for CYSHCN and provides an overview of what care coordination can look like.

Increased Coordination Between Home Visiting and Early Education for a Higher-Quality Workforce
A new blog post from Child Trends highlights strategies that researchers and policymakers can use to better align professional development opportunities across the home visiting and early care and education fields. Because these fields often serve the same children and families, they could benefit by developing a shared set of core competencies, expanding post-secondary programs to include home visiting staff, and developing comprehensive career pathways for staff in both fields.

Behavioral Health Homes for Children
Developed by NASHP and the National Center for Medical Home Implementation, this fact sheet provides information on federal health home requirements and flexibilities and highlights three examples of successful state pediatric behavioral health home programs. The fact sheet supports states’ utilization of a systems approach and showcases how state Medicaid agencies can improve care delivery and outcomes for children while containing costs.

Where Did You Group Up? Because It May Determine a Lot.
Which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty? Using anonymous data following 20 million Americans from childhood to their mid-30s, the Opportunity Atlas from Opportunity Insights at Harvard University is an interactive data tool that shows just how vastly different the future economic prospects of a child can look from one neighborhood to the next. See where and for whom opportunity has been missing, and develop local solutions to help more children rise out of poverty.

Medicaid Maternal Depression Screening Maps and 50-State Chart
This month, NASHP features its updated Medicaid Maternal Depression Screening maps and 50-State Chart. One map indicates which states Medicaid programs cover maternal depression screening as part of well-child visits. A second map details maternal depression screening tool recommendations and requirements in states. Check out other new resources at NASHP’s Healthy Child Development State Resource Center, supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Check out these new opportunities from national partners, shared this month to the FCBB on the affiliate side of the HMG National website:

For continuing updates on opportunities like these, visit HMG National ‘s Funding & Capacity Building Bulletin


Comparative use of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires in the USA and Scandinavia: A Systematic Review
A new systematic review in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology investigates screening practices with the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) and the Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE) in the USA and Scandinavia to identify implementation practices as well as several research opportunities. The authors review 127 articles related to ASQ and ASQ-SE between the years 1988 and 2018. While US studies predominately leveraged the screening tools to detect delays and at-risk populations, Scandinavian studies instead focused on monitoring comparative differences among intervention cohorts.
The paper concludes, “Experts purport a ‘systems approach’ to universal ASQ/ASQ:SE screening. This means that nationwide initiatives should (1) define programme goals, (2) increase community awareness about the benefits of early detection and intervention, (3) provide centralized referral contacts, (4) train practitioners to perform developmental–behavioural screening in combination with activities that promote healthy child development and behaviour, (5) leverage existing resources across sectors, and (6) map out the most effective follow-up steps for children with suspected delays and at-risk conditions. Given the literature strongly suggests a poorly organized follow-up structure for children with suspected problems, our hypothesis is that a ‘systems approach’ or the ‘Help Me Grow System Model’ is lacking but might be beneficial in Scandinavia, the entire USA, and, most probably, other developed Western nations.”

Marks KP, Madsen Sjö N, Wilson P. Comparative use of the ages and stages questionnaires in the USA and Scandinavia: A systematic review. Dev Med Child Neurol. First published online: 23 September 2018.


Together at the Table
The National Center has recently had the opportunity to take a seat at a number of influential national tables. A new HMG National Blog post by National Center Executive Director, Kimberly Martini-Carvell, features some of the key convenings attended in just the last six months, and the pivotal conversations taking place around these tables.
This initial installment kicks off an ongoing series on the HMG National Blog highlighting critical meetings, events, opportunities, and conversations for which the National Center has the privilege of representing the interests and perspective of the HMG National Affiliate Network. Stay posted for more!

HMG National Presents at MCHB Grand Rounds
Sustainability of an initiative, innovation, or program is predicated on the mutually reinforcing and supportive activities, or the bonding, bridging and linking, of the infrastructure. As invited presenters for the Maternal Child Health Bureau’s Directors Grand Rounds in October 10, Dr. Paul Dworkin and Kimberly Martini-Carvell spoke about the utility of the Help Me Grow model in system building. With sector-enhancing and possibly system changing opportunities before us – including the Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) Model and the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) – it is imperative to articulate Help Me Grow’s value proposition as the facilitative infrastructure to be leveraged for optimal and sustainable impacts of our child serving systems. Many of the concepts, themes, and drivers of Help Me Grow’s work was validated by the broad, multi-sector audience.

Bonding Supports, Bridging Organizations, and Linking Learnings Via ECCS Community of Practice
The Maternal Child Health Bureau’s Early Childhood Comprehensive System grant is transforming how communities and states think about, fund, and scale their early childhood systems. The Help Me Grow National Center serves as an expert advisor, faculty member, and now a co-facilitator of a Community of Practice that supports NICHQ’s technical assistance initiative for ECCS grantees. In partnership with HMG Long Island over the next year, we will bring together a cohort of both state grantees and their place-based demonstration communities to explore some of the accelerators of early childhood system building, measurement, and sustainability, drawing down on the experiences of the HMG Affiliate Network to do so.  

Promoting the Power of Play
The power of play has been shown to be a significant factor in reducing childhood obesity and enhancing child development. A new blog post on Advancing Kids looks at the benefits of increasing playtime.

Defining Innovation to Foster Success
A new blog post on Advancing Kids highlights the importance of defining innovations to foster sustainability and scaling.

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Early Learning CoP Update
The HMG and Early Learning Community of Practice (CoP) has officially begun. This month, the CoP received a virtual orientation to the project which included a walkthrough of the project activities: topical webinars, peer learning opportunities, and individualized coaching sessions. Participating communities also exchanged their unique priorities for participating in this CoP. Themes shared by communities included increasing referral rates to the centralized access point from early learning providers, better utilizing technology, and aligning with state- and community-level initiatives.


Help Me Grow Florida + First 1000 Days Partnership
Continuing efforts to embed Help Me Grow Florida (HMGF) into the collective impact of early childhood system building in Florida has led the affiliate to strategically partner with First 1000 Days. The initiative is multi-disciplinary, cross-sector summit focusing on child health and well-being, prevention of abuse and neglect, early child development, trauma-informed care, and school readiness during the critical first 1000 days of life. Objectives of a First 1000 Days Florida Summit held in September included the promotion of systems development, strengthening the coordination and delivery of comprehensive family services, infusing cutting edge practices into existing service delivery models in Florida, and expanding professional development opportunities. Stakeholders, advocates, and early childhood professionals came together during this summit to support Florida’s children. “Help Me Grow Florida has come a long way since becoming an affiliate of the Help Me Grow National network in 2012,” states Alexandra Goldberg, Statewide Program and Training Manager for HMGF. “We are excited about all of the progress that is being made in Florida in the early childhood community and Help Me Grow is proud to be a part of it!”

CCAFF Wins Pritzker Planning Grant for California
The California Children and Families Foundation (CCAFF), established as a 501(c)3 public benefit organization and sister entity to the First 5 Association, serves as the lead organization for a number of statewide initiatives, including Help Me Grow California. The JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation has recognized CCAFF as the best-suited organization in California to lead the Pritzker Children’s Initiative work, a state challenge grant for the purpose of increasing services for at-risk infants and toddlers and their families to get them on track for school readiness by age three. 
Over the next six months, CCAFF will develop a concrete plan for transforming the early childhood system of care (particularly services supporting children 0-3) by linking essential services to Medi-Cal and, more broadly, the state health and human services system to help expand high-quality services through an agreed upon set of policies and programs to California’s low-income infants and toddlers. 
California prides itself on being a leader across the globe, yet the state continues to struggle in best-serving its most valuable and vulnerable members of our society, its children. Thanks to the partnership between the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and First 5, California is finally poised to move the needle on improving children’s comprehensive health and development. The new opportunity represents an exciting collaboration with statewide partners to ensure that California’ s children are happy, healthy, and ready to learn.

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