November/December 2017 | ISSUE 38
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. 

We encourage you to share LINC-UP with others. Please send feedback or suggestions for "Community News" to:
Getting to the Root of Inequity
Teaching Providers About the Social Determinants of Health
In early November, First 5 Alameda offered a training for early childhood providers called, "We're in This Together: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health in Alameda County," that explored the importance of addressing the the social factors that influence the health of the families they serve.  

First 5 Alameda Training Administrator Beth Hoch had seen Kiko Malin, Director of Alameda County Family Health Services Division, speak about the social determinants of health at an Alameda County First 5 Commission Meeting. She found the presentation "extremely elucidating and inspiring" which is why she invited Malin to provide the training for early childhood providers in the First 5 conference center.
"The training was designed to engage the audience in an exploration of what is meant by the social determinants of health and why addressing these social factors before and during early childhood is critical to achieving health for all community members," Hoch said. Partnering with the public health agency was an opportunity to broaden the perspective of early childhood providers and share concrete examples of programming and policy aimed at improving conditions for young children and families.
Many early childhood providers have heard about toxic stress and are aware of the science showing the correlation between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adult outcomes , but may not be familiar with the broader public health approach to social determinants of health. Participants learned about the data demonstrating the connection between social conditions - such as unsafe or unstable housing, food insecurity and poverty - and current and lifelong health. Malin also described innovative programming in Alameda County and outlined key considerations when planning programs to address social determinants.

Thirty-four providers from throughout the county attended the half-day training. It was well-received, with 89% of participants rating the training "very good" or "excellent." In response to how this information will be used in their work, one provider said, "I will... educate clients, discuss the [topic] with agency staff and [explore] policy issues in our programs so we can start making changes."

Hoch was pleased with the training event and encouraged other early childhood leaders to consider similar events for providers in their communities. "In doing this training again, I might consider a full day and add a panel discussion in the afternoon that would include representation from local agencies, parent leadership organizations and parents from the community."

Addressing Issues of Gender, Sexuality and Parenting

This October blog post addresses some key
questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) and parenting. It discusses what "good parenting" of LGBT or gender-nonconforming children looks like and whether parents' SOGIE matters. It includes ideas for how systems can support parents of children navigating issues of sexuality and gender identity. A related paper released by CSSP in November, Religious Refusal Laws in Child Welfare - Harming Children and Stunting Progress, explains the dangers of the recent spate of religious refusal laws, which allow publicly funded agencies to apply religious criteria in their selection of foster and adoptive parents.


Policy Design Principles
Science to Policy to Practice
The Center on the Developing Child has identified three science-based principles to make policy and frontline practice-across many subject areas-maximally effective for children and families. These design principles can lead policymakers to think at all levels about the forces that could lead to better outcomes for children. Read the paper and view an interactive graphic.
Rationale for Investment
Building Strong Foundations
Based on a large body of developmental research, this project from ZERO TO THREE and CLASP articulates and promotes policies that comprehensively address the well-being of infants, toddlers and families. These policies are rooted in evidence about what babies need, including strong parents, economically stable families, high quality early care and education opportunities and healthy minds, healthy bodies and healthy parents.

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.