Harnessing Opportunity for Positive, Equitable Early Childhood Development (HOPE)

February 1, 2018
The Nemours Children’s Health System is proud to launch The Project HOPE Consortium, a new partnership with The BUILD Initiative and BMC Vital Village Network supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Project HOPE is designed to generate real progress toward equitable outcomes for young children (prenatal to age five) and their families by building the capacity of local communities, state leaders, cross-sector state teams, and local coalitions to prevent social adversities in early childhood and promote child well-being.

Grant Opportunity
States and communities are invited to build collaborative teams to participate in this work. Up to eight community teams and seven state teams will be selected to receive grants that will support in-depth technical assistance for capacity-building through targeted funding, tailored provision of technical assistance, focused strategies and approaches, tools and materials, webinars, and support for in-person convening. Complete your Expression of Interest Survey before March 8, 2018.

Through this survey, cross-sector teams or leaders can express interest in the HOPE project. Selected community coalitions/teams will be invited to apply for grants of up to $80,000 over 18 months. Selected state teams and individual leader survey respondents will be invited to apply for seven state grants of up to $200,000 over 24 months.

Learn More
Join Nemours, BUILD Initiative, and BMC Vital Village for an informational webinar on Thursday, February 8 at 2:00 PM ET. Any questions can be submitted toprojecthope2018202@gmail.com. Questions received before February 5 will be addressed on the webinar. Register here.

What is Systems Building?

By working collectively on state systems and community approaches, The Project HOPE Consortium will help early childhood leaders from early learning, health, and other child- and family-serving systems develop health equity as a shared value. Learn more about systems building here


Opportunity to Strengthen Your System of Care for CYSHCN: Action Learning Collaborative


AMCHP, in partnership with the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and with support from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, is excited to announce a Request for Applications for state teams interested in receiving peer-to-peer technical assistance in adopting the National Standards for Systems of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (the Standards) to improve their state system of care for this population of children.

This is an eight-month TA opportunity for five selected states beginning in February 2017 with a kickoff webinar and consisting of a face-to-face meeting in spring 2017 in Washington, D.C. and ongoing technical assistance calls through the remaining months. For questions about this RFA, contact Kate Taft at ktaft@amchp.org. To download a blank application form, click here. Applications must be submitted electronically by Jan. 23, 2017 to Cori Floyd at cfloyd@amchp.org.


In the United States, about 11.2 million children have special health care needs.CYSHCN Fact Sheet.PNG Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are a diverse group of children, ranging from children with chronic conditions to those with more medically complex health issues, to children with behavioral or emotional conditions. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau defines CYSHCN as children from birth to age 21 who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

As a national advocate for family health, AMCHP ensures these children receive high quality, family-centered, integrated health services by partnering with national and state agencies and organizations, such as state Title V CYSHCN Programs.

State Title V CYSHCN programs have decades of experience in creating and sustaining systems of care for CYSHCN and their families. State CYSHCN programs ensure family-centered, community-based, coordinated care for children with chronic conditions and disabilities.

With support from several sponsors, including the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, AMCHP assists families and state Title V CYSHCN programs with the following:

  • Policy and legislative analysis
  • Research
  • Coordination of national meetings
  • Publications

To access a fact sheet on general CYSHCN informationclick here.

To access an overview of Models of Care for CYSHCNclick here.

To learn about Health Reform related to CYSHCNclick here.

Focus Areas

The CYSHCN program at AMCHP covers a range of focus areas through our partnerships with state and national organizations.

To learn more about each focus area, click on the subjects below or click here.

Fewer Babies in Poor Families Are Overweight


The percentage of overweight babies in poor families in the United States may be on the decline, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that fewer babies enrolled in the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional assistance program had a high “weight-for-length” in 2014, when compared with 2010. The percentage went from 14.5 percent to just over 12 percent in that period.

The WIC program helps low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children up to age 5. With federal funding, states provide those families with supplemental foods, nutrition education and health care referrals.

Researchers said the new findings are “encouraging.”

High weight, even in infancy, has been linked to an increased risk of obesity later on, said study author David Freedman. He is a researcher with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And children in low-income families are at particular risk of both a high weight in infancy and childhood obesity, Freedman pointed out.

Dr. William Dietz, director of the Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., agreed that “high weight-for-length is beyond ‘chubbiness.’ ”

Dietz, who was not involved in the study, pointed to a finding he thought was particularly encouraging: Weight improvements were greatest among babies in certain minority groups. Hispanic and Native American babies showed the biggest changes.

The prevalence of high weight among Hispanic babies dropped from 17 percent in 2010 to just under 14 percent in 2014; among Native Americans, the prevalence fell below 16 percent — down from almost 19 percent, the findings showed.

Meanwhile, just under 12 percent of black babies had a high weight in 2014, compared with 11 percent of white babies.

“The declines were greatest in groups disproportionately affected by obesity,” Dietz said. “So those disparities, at least in this youngest age group, may be narrowing. That’s an important finding.”

The results were based on nearly 17 million U.S. babies younger than 2 whose families took part in WIC between 2000 and 2014.

Between 2000 and 2004, the proportion of babies with a high weight-for-length rose from roughly 13 percent to 14.5 percent. That figure held steady through 2010, then dropped to just above 12 percent by 2014.

Why did the picture improve? Changes to the WIC program are one likely reason, Freedman said.

During the study period, the program’s food allocation package was revamped to fall in line with federal dietary guidelines, as well as infant feeding recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“There were changes that resulted in increased consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables,” Freedman said.

Plus, he added, those years saw a growing awareness — among health professionals and parents — of the childhood obesity problem.

Freedman did underscore a limitation of the study: Since the findings come from the WIC program, they do not reflect U.S. families as a whole.

However, recent studies have found that early childhood obesity seems to be on the decline nationwide. According to the CDC, just over 9 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds were obese in 2014 — down from 14 percent a decade earlier.

That’s in contrast to what’s going on with older kids and adults, Freedman pointed out.

Among 2- to 19-year-olds, the CDC says, the prevalence of obesity has remained stubbornly stable — at around 17 percent. And roughly one-fifth of U.S. teenagers are obese.

Still, the fact that the youngest kids are showing a different pattern is a positive sign, according to Dietz.

“This shows that we are making some progress,” he said.

Freedman agreed. “We are seeing some positive results,” he said. Now, the question is whether the encouraging trends will continue, he added.

More information

The CDC has more on childhood obesity.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Available at: https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/obesity-health-news-505/fewer-u-s-babies-from-poorer-families-are-overweight-now-cdc-717726.html

High-Quality Birth-to-Five Programs Produce a Greater Return on Investment


Professor James Heckman and colleagues have just released The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, the results of a new analysis demonstrating that high-quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment—a rate substantially higher than the 7-10% return previously established for preschool programs serving 3 and 4-year-olds.

Heckman’s team used data from FPG’s Abecedarian Project and FPG’s Carolina Approach to Responsive Education, and this new analysis includes the value of health outcomes, as well as the economic benefits of providing child care to mothers.

In a two-page research snapshot, Heckman and colleagues recommend “more and better” programs for young children in poverty.”Child poverty is growing in the United States,” they write. “Investing in comprehensive birth-to-five early childhood education is a powerful and cost-effective way to mitigate its negative consequences on child development and adult opportunity.”The authors also suggest that policymakers coordinate early childhood resources “into a scaffolding of developmental support for disadvantaged children” and that such support “provide access to all in need.”According to the researchers, “the gains are significant because quality programs pay for themselves many times over. The cost of inaction is a tragic loss of human and economic potential that we cannot afford.”

Source: FPG Child Development Institute

Available at: http://fpg.unc.edu/node/8730

CDC: Flu Vaccination Rates Remain Low 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported low overall flu vaccination rates of 40% for this season, a similar number as last year’s coverage.

The current estimates are based on survey data from up to early November and show that 37% of children aged 6 months to 17 years and 41% of adults aged ≥18 years have received the flu vaccine. The Healthy People 2020 goal is to reach 70% coverage across all age groups.

“We are urging parents to make sure their children get a flu shot this season, as the nasal-spray vaccine is not recommended for the 2016–2017 flu season. An annual flu vaccine is very important protection for children,” said Joe Bresee, MD, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of CDC’s Influenza Division.

Source: CDC: MPR

Available at: http://www.empr.com/news/cdc-flu-vaccination-rates-remain-low/article/578669/

Webinar: Place, Race, ACE, and the First 1000 Days: New Policy Imperatives for Early Childhood

About the presenters

Charles Bruner, Ph.D.
Charles Bruner, Ph.D. Image
Charles Bruner, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator for the Learning Collaborative on Health Equity and Young Children, has worked on child policy and advocacy issues from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Charlie holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, served 12 years as a state representative and then senator in the Iowa General Assembly, and was the founding Director of Iowa’s leading child policy research and advocacy organization, the Child and Family Policy Center. His presentation will draw upon the policy brief, ACE, Place, Race, Poverty, and Young Children: Community-Building as a Component of Early Childhood Systems Building.
Richard Chase
Richard Chase Image
Senior research manager at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, studies early childhood policies, services, and indicators and evaluates the effectiveness of school readiness, prevention, and capacity-building programs for children. For more than 30 years, Richard has worked with diverse community agencies to design and carry out studies focused on outcomes and improvement. Richard holds a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. His presentation will draw upon the policy report, Prenatal to Age 3: A Comprehensive, Racially-Equitable Policy Plan for Universal Healthy Child Development.
Voices and Choices for Children Coalition
The Voices and Choices for Children Coalition working closely with the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, state ethnic councils, state agencies, early childhood funders, community-based organizations, early childhood advocates and parents representing communities of color and American Indian communities across the state of Minnesota, focuses on developing strongly engaged cultural communities of learning as well as organizing and advocacy opportunities for their access, input, and impact around shaping more equitable practices and policies that will support better outcomes for children of color and American Indian children prenatal to 8 years old across the state. The coalition prioritizes the voices of organizations, advocates and parents of color and American Indians working across early childhood sectors to more meaningfully engage and empower communities of color and American Indians.
Angelica Cardenas-Chaisson, M.S.W.
Moderator: Angelica Cardenas-Chaisson, M.S.W. is CFPC’s staff lead for the Learning Collaborative on Health Equity and Young Children.  Ms. Cardenas-Chaisson has an emphasis on health equity and young children. She brings expertise in early learning and family support to the center’s work.  She also works closely on issues of youth living in foster care.
Ms. Cardenas received her B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has a Master’s of Social Work with an emphasis on children and families from the University of California, Berkeley.

Source: Learning Collaborative on Health Equity & Young Children

Registration available at: https://cc.readytalk.com/registration/#/?meeting=7f43uzewd8ja&campaign=8pm8s6v79gp4

A Healthy Early Childhood Action Plan: Policies for a Lifetime of Well-being


A Healthy Early Childhood Action Plan: Policies for a Lifetime of Well-being highlights more than 40 policy target areas that are key to achieving national goals of reducing toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and improving the lives of millions of children.

Living with prolonged stress and/or adverse experiences can significantly increase a child’s risk for a range of physical, mental and behavioral problems – increasing the likelihood for hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cognitive and developmental disorders, depression, anxiety and a range of other concerns.

Currently, around one-quarter of children ages 5 and younger live in poverty and more than half of all children experience at least one ACE.  According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-quarter of children experience physical abuse (28.3 percent) and substance abuse in the household (26.9 percent) while sexual abuse (24.7 percent for girls and 16 percent for boys) and parent divorce or separation (23.3 percent) are also prevalent.

“More and more studies show investing in early childhood pays off in a lifetime of better health and well-being,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH.  “There are dozens of policy levers we can and should be pushing to ensure all children have high-quality preventive healthcare; safe, stable, nurturing relationships, homes and communities; good nutrition and enough physical activity; and positive early learning experiences.”

The report calls for increased public health engagement in early childhood areas, with a series of recommendations including to:

Build beyond the traditional healthcare system by integrating health and other social supports, including accountable health communities for children, by:

  • Ensuring every child has access to high-quality and affordable healthcare;
  • Building systems to help identify and provide support for children’s needs beyond the traditional medical system, but that have a major impact on health;
  • Focusing on a two generation approach to healthcare – and social service support;
  • Modernizing and expanding the availability of mental health and substance misuse treatment services – for both parents and children;
  • Expanding the focus of a trauma-informed approach across a wider range of federal, state and locally supported services; and
  • Improving services and care coordination for Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs (CYSHCN).

Promote protective, healthy communities and establish expert and technical assistance backbone support to help spread and scale programs nationally and in every state, by:

  • Improving the collection, analysis and integration of child health, well-being and services data to better assess trends and target services and programs;
  • Strengthening the role of federal, state and local health departments as the chief health strategist in communities; and
  • Establishing a support organization in every state that provides expertise and technical assistance.

Increase investments in core, effective early childhood policies and programs, by:

  • Making programs and services that promote early childhood well-being a higher priority to ensure they can be delivered on a scale to help all families (ranging from home visiting programs to child welfare services to increasing economic opportunity for families to child care and early education); and
  • Better aligning systems and financial resources to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health, social services and education services.

The report includes a series of maps showing the status of different states on key trends and policy areas and case studies of evidence-based and model programs, organizations and initiatives—which are putting these recommendations into action—including the Nurse Family Partnership, Family Check Up Models, Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Good Behavior Game, Child-Parent Center Program, Crittenton Children’s Center at Saint Luke’s Health System, Wholesome Wave, Community Asthma Initiative at Boston Children’s Hospital and many others.

“If we work together across sectors – bringing together the collective energy and resources of diverse partners – we will have a better chance of achieving the common goal of a healthy start for all of America’s children,” said Gail Christopher, chair of TFAH’s Board of Directors and vice president for policy and senior advisor at the WK Kellogg Foundation.  “This report shines a light on many promising policies and programs.  But the question remains whether we can garner the public will to turn the potential into the promise that improves the lives of our next generation.”

The report was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Source: Trust for America’s Health

Available at: http://healthyamericans.org/report/123

Alliance for Early Success: Policy Framework and Guidelines 


The Alliance developed and published an initial Framework in 2013 with input from more than 150 experts representing early childhood and K-12 advocates and leaders, researchers, communication professionals, policymakers, and foundation leaders. The 2015 revision reflects input from a high level Advisory Group as well as additional experts in health and family support. Policy options are updated to reflect the latest research and best practice evidence. The most significant change is the inclusion of cross-cutting policy choices that address multiple issues.

The Framework has four policy pillars.

  • HEALTH:  Children are born healthy, stay healthy, and are surrounded by healthy adults
  • FAMILY SUPPORT:  Families help their children explore, learn, and grow in safe and nurturing places.
  • LEARNING:  Children arrive at Kindergarten with the skills and abilities to meet developmental milestones, read on grade level, and reach achievement goals.
  • CROSS-CUTTING POLICIES: Children thrive in families and communities that support their healthy development.

Source: Alliance for Early Success

Available at: http://earlysuccess.org/our-work/policy-framework

Motivational Interviewing Suite


These short videos provide examples of how to use Motivational Interviewing strategies in everyday conversations between Head Start and Early Head Start staff and families. In the first video, watch as a parent and a teacher talk about a child’s challenging behavior in the classroom. The second shows a home visitor talking to a parent about a positive depression screening.

Staff can use these videos to identify skills to enhance their relationships with families. Watch the accompanying debriefs to see how the strategies impact how the participants think and feel. Use the related materials to deepen your knowledge of the process and skills around Motivational Interviewing.

Source: National Center on Health, Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/mental-health/ec-mental-health-consultation/motivational-interviewing.html

What We’ve Learned About Kids And Sleep In 2015


Kids’ sleep is truly precious. For parents, hardly anything beats the sight of their little one wrapped in a blanket, curls strewn over the pillow, breathing softly and looking happy and serene. But what if your child is tossing and turning, snoring or moaning in her sleep? How will the quality of her nighttime rest affect how she fares socially, emotionally and academically?

These were some of the questions that leading medical professionals discussed at SLEEP 2015, which took place in Seattle in June. Underscoring the importance of children’s sleep, the conference added to a wave of newly released research that suggests answers to many of the questions weighing on parents at bedtime.

Source: Huffington Post

Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/09/08/sleep-kids-tips_n_7485616.html