May 2017 | ISSUE 32
This Early Childhood-LINC newsletter connects communities across the country as they build and strengthen systems to help children and families thrive. Click the box below and enter your email address in the Stay Informed box to sign up. 

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Data for Change
Orange County Releases 2017 Community Indicators Report
In early May, the Orange County Forum , a current affairs-based community non-profit, held a formal luncheon event to release the 2017 Orange County Community Indicators Report . A panel of community leaders discussed the challenges facing Orange County as presented in the report.

This report, sponsored in part by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County , shares data essential to understanding and improving the region's economic prospects and quality of life. These reports have been released annually since 2000.
For the third year, the 2017 report focuses on three critical "pivot points": Children's Health, Housing and the Opportunity Gap. This year's report highlights relevant indicators for each points: children's mental health, affordable housing and the need to train the workforce for "middle skills" jobs.

The Community Indicators Report also presents Orange County's data on the Early Development Index (EDI), a measure of kindergarten readiness. The EDI is now used in every school district throughout the county, giving the county the ability to compare school readiness rates across communities as well as to target improvements at the county level. In both 2015 and 2016, the EDI showed that 52% of children in the county were developmentally on-track and ready for kindergarten.

Lisa Burke, project manager for the Community Indicators Report, explained that the focus on pivot points has made the annual report a touchpoint for action. "We've been having this conversation about housing for a long time," Burke said. "But the report, by drilling down in the data, has taken the conversation to a new level."

The Forum was an opportunity to discuss how all of the pivot point issues are interrelated. Panel participants included a business leader, a housing advocate and the leader of an after-school program, all focused on what needs to be done to maintain the quality of life in Orange County. Community partners and government agencies can then use the report to identify areas where their time, resources and input are needed.

Podcasts about Protective Factors 

The Child Welfare Information Gateway recently released a two-part podcast series highlighting CSSP's Strengthening Families protective factors framework and how it is used in child and family-serving systems. The series features Cailin O'Connor, senior associate at CSSP, and Tabitha Kelly, division chief of the Division of Child and Family Services in Arlington County, Virginia.

Protective Factors Part 1 delves into protective factors definitions, what it means to focus on family strengths and how professionals can identify and recognize protective factors when engaging parents.
Protective Factors Part 2 covers why and how Arlington County implemented a protective factors approach, including how they've trained staff and supervisors and lessons learned about how agency leadership can lead staff to embrace the shift toward protective factors.

Issue Brief: Better Evidence for Decision-Makers

The latest issue brief in CSSP's Friends of Evidence body of work argues that decision-makers ought to be informed by all the evidence relevant to the work of remedying urgent problems - not only evidence about particular programs or services.

To help decision-makers best access broad-spectrum evidence, the brief describes three approaches to understanding evidence relevant to improving results in an entire field or for a broadly defined target population. It also recommends actions to create a richer and wider body of evidence that can help decision-makers achieve results at scale for children and families.
Blog: The Link Between Family Stress and Child Well-Being

This new blog post highlights concerns about proposed federal budget and policy changes that threaten children's well-being. It shows how family stress has a direct, lasting negative impact on child health and well-being. It also demonstrates how system builders, communities and decision-makers can use the Strengthening Families protective factors framework to create policies and programs that build family strengths and improve child well-being.
Practice Briefs: Building Neighborhood Capacity

Concluding its role as technical assistance provider for the federal Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP), CSSP released a
four-part series of practice briefs on building neighborhood capacity. The briefs focus on:
Uncommon Solutions to Difficult Problems

Overcoming Poverty
Less Stressed Brains Can Create Economic Sufficiency
The Boston non-profit Economic Mobility Pathways has achieved remarkable success with a program that uses principles of neuroplasticity to help families and children effectively rewire their brains to break free from poverty.
Family Engagement
Libraries as Family Spaces
This 2017 Global Family Research Project report and ideabook calls for libraries to establish a system of family engagement alongside schools and community organizations. It also offers a research-based framework to guide libraries' work in this field.
Affordable Housing
School District Tackles Housing Inequity
A Colorado school district has addressed a crisis in affordable housing for its workforce with a comprehensive, equity-focused home-building program that may serve as a model for workforce development nationally.
Going to Scale
Effecting Change with Scarce Resources
The Stanford Social Innovation Review explores how nonprofits in India are expert models for scaling up during times of scarcity and becoming effective agents of social change. The article includes five mind-sets leaders need to reach more people in need.
Early Childhood-LINC is a learning and innovation network developed by and for communities.  Our mission is to support families and improve results for young children in communities across the country with a focus on accelerating the development of effective, integrated, local early childhood systems.  We are currently made up of 10 member communities across the country.