Early Childhood Issue
June 2018
Early childhood experiences literally shape the brain's architecture, establishing either a sturdy or fragile base for all the learning, health and behavior that follows. A strong foundation in these early years improves the odds for positive outcomes. That's why the Endowment for Health supports work that will ensure all New Hampshire's children and their families are healthy, learning and thriving now and in the future. 

Early Childhood Governance Project Examines How State Can Better Serve Young Children and Families 
Spark NH, the state's Governor-appointed Early Childhood Advisory Council, is convening early childhood system experts in a series of meetings to identify the best governance and infrastructure to support young children and families in the Granite State. Governance refers to how programs are managed to promote efficiency, excellence and equity.  Supporting the project is Harriet Dichter, of the State Capacity Building Center and National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance.  A report is expected in the fall and will outline recommendations to improve our current governance structure.  This is important work that will help ensure that all families have access to the supports and services they need for their children's optimal development.

Framework for Action Symposium
Spark NH recently held its Framework for Action Symposium attended by more than 100 professionals. The event highlighted ten policy recommendations outlined in the previously released Framework for Action to address all aspects of children's development including health, learning, family economic stability, and child serving systems that are coordinated and effective. The event highlighted each of these recommendations by showcasing exemplars across New Hampshire. Much of this progress is happening at the local level through the state's eleven regional early childhood initiatives. Rebecca Woitkowski from  New Futures Kids Count was on hand to celebrate recent policy wins and educate participants about current and upcoming policy priorities.   
From left to right:  Laurie Hart, Concord Safe Schools Healthy Students; Erin Boylan, Easter Seals and Family Support NH; Keryn Bernard-Kriegl, NH Children's Trust; Laura Milliken, Spark NH. 

New RAND Corporation Study Underway
As a follow-on to last year's RAND Corporation study, Investing in the Early Years, Dr. Lynn Karoly is working on a new research study to support strategic local investments in early childhood programs including a statewide landscape analysis to identify communities that would be a 'good fit' for new investments in evidence-based home visiting and high-quality preschool.  Indicators for the landscape analysis include underlying need at a local level, an understanding of current investments, identification of service gaps, workforce readiness, and availability of facilities and other infrastructure.  Additionally, the study will showcase communities already using creative strategies to invest in early childhood.  The new study will be released in the fall of 2018.

Conference and New Report Educate Pediatric Primary Care Providers on Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

The impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on lifelong health and well-being has been well documented.  New research from the New Hampshire Pediatric Improvement Partnership at the University of New Hampshire sets the stage to assess and address ACEs in the state's pediatric and family practice settings.  The report, set for release at the end of June, includes a literature review and expert interviews to identify evidence-based tools and interventions.  The report will also include recommendations and action steps to address ACEs in primary care settings.   
Providers from the Manchester Community Health Center participated in the conference 
A conference on the same topic was recently held for pediatric primary care providers. Spark NH, HNH Foundation, Project LAUNCH NH and the Endowment for Health co-hosted the training.  Heather C. Forkey, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, keynoted the event.  She emphasized that ACEs can derail development and outlined techniques to spot the effects of adverse experiences in children, then treat and refer accordingly.   Additional presentations explored the state service array, trauma-informed services and child-parent psychotherapy. 

Twenty Years of Celebrating Early Childhood Professionals
The 20th Annual Celebration of Early Childhood Professionals was held on April 10th. Hundreds gathered including Commissioners Edleblut and Meyers from the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services respectively. Policymakers, advocates, family and friends celebrated professionals who were awarded early childhood and family mental health service credentials. Dr. Ellen Wheatley, Deputy Director of the federal Office of Child Care and former Director of New Hampshire's Office of Child Development, gave the keynote address.  
134 professionals received early childhood and family mental health service credentials at the event.   
Among the award presentations, Kim Firth (left), Endowment for Health; and Christina Lachance (center), New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, were honored with the prestigious Mary Stuart Gile Award.  Representative Gile is pictured right.  

Gubernatorial Forum on Early Childhood Planned for August 27, 2018 at St. Anselm's Institute of Politics

  Spark NH, in partnership with dozens of co-sponsors, will host its second Gubernatorial Forum on August 27th, focused on the candidates' views on early childhood and the Framework for Action.



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