October 2017 | ISSUE 37
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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Community Organizing
Using Documentary Film to Build Community Support - and Change Policy
In 2015, California Newsreel released The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation . The documentary series was made to help shift our national conversation about early childhood development and the role of policies and systems in supporting families with young children. To date, nearly 750,000 people across all 50 states have screened and discussed the series, which is available for order and rental here.

California Newsreel has now published The Raising of America Evaluation Report, which includes two case studies on how communities used the film
How Kansas City built a coalition to drive change
In Kansas City, MO, The Raising of America (ROA) was a critical tool in advancing a city-wide conversation about early childhood, including promoting family-friendly workplaces. Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO), a multi-faith-based community organizing nonprofit, and the city's Health Department convened a group of stakeholders to plan and facilitate a series of ROA screenings.
First, CCO and the Health Department showed the film to their own members and staff and found that the idea of early childhood development as part of a wider social ecology resonated well. They then expanded screenings to other social service-oriented organizations, which helped them build a base of 5,000 community leaders committed to increasing early childhood investments, such as public funding for preschool.

Finally, they facilitated citywide ROA screenings to 1) shift the whole city's view of early childhood; 2) support a specific call-to-action; 3) connect community organizers with legislative and business stakeholders who could take action and advance policies; and 4) organize for ongoing policy changes to support children and families.
Mayor Sly James was a key partner in bringing leaders from outside the early childhood field to the city's ROA screenings. In particular, the Mayor's office used the ROA screenings as an opportunity to engage the Chamber of Commerce, which had set early childhood among its priority issues, but hadn't identified concrete actions to take.

hrough ROA screenings, business leaders made the connection between family-friendly work policies and promoting healthy child development. Leading by example, Mayor James announced that he was working to implement six to eight weeks of fully paid parental leave for city employees. The issue of paid leave had already been elevated in the Mayor's "Women's Empowerment Initiative," as a way to make city government a better work environment. With the screenings of ROA, it became clear that paid leave was also critical for healthy child development. In 2016, Kansas City became one of the first municipalities in the nation to provide this benefit.

"Implementing parental leave was a way we could start walking the talk," explained Dr. Julie Holland, Education Adviser to the Mayor. "We're the tenth largest employer in this city. The message to businesses was: if we can do it, you can do it."

To encourage wider adoption of family-friendly workplace policies, the Mayor's office and the Women's Foundation now encourage local businesses to apply for the When Work Works award, and recognize those who win it each year.

Pressing play on your system-building

As in Kansas City, early childhood system builders may find the following three recommendations most helpful when using a film or other media to help organize communities to support early childhood issues.
  1. Start with internal screenings and conversations, especially if staff and leadership have different perspectives on how systems impact early child development.
  2. Be prepared to redirect the conversation from "good" or "bad" parenting to the larger systems and policies which help or hinder parents' efforts to be the parents they want to be.
  3. Don't organize around the film. Rather, use the film to help organize around existing efforts. "It's all about timing," said Kansas City's Holland. "If you have an early childhood agenda, you can use the documentary to give it that extra nudge, to expand understanding and move things along."

Click here to learn more about organizing an ROA screening. LINC UP! has also compiled a list of other early-childhood documentaries that could support system building.

Have you used documentaries or other storytelling tools to advance your early childhood system building? How? Let us know and we may feature your story in an upcoming issue of LINC UP!

Tell Us How You Are Using Strengthening Families
If you are using the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework or approach in
your work - at the program, agency, system, community or state level - we want to hear about it! Please take 10 to 15 minutes to respond to a survey from CSSP about how you are using Strengthening Families and how the protective factors approach is helping to solve problems facing families in your community. Send in your completed survey and you could be one of three respondents randomly selected to receive a 30-minute phone consultation about your Strengthening Families implementation!
Academic Pediatrics Journal Looks at ACEs and Child Well-Being

In this special supplement to their September issue, Academic Pediatrics focuses on using community-centered health services and smart investments in early childhood to promote child and family well-being and address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

The supplement identifies four priority goals, four priority research areas and sixteen priority actions that leverage existing research, policy and health service systems and structures. Several articles may help communities better understand, align and organize their health services systems to leverage current brain science, facilitate cultural change to solve complex problems and fight ACEs and toxic stress. Read more here.

Congress Missed the Deadline to Reauthorize CHIP. What Happens Now?

rrent Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding expired on September 30, 2017, when Congress failed to renew it. If Congress does not act, states will have no choice but to begin closing their CHIP programs, which help families earning incomes just above the threshold for Medicaid coverage afford insurance for their children. More than 8 million children rely on CHIP and could lose their health insurance coverage as a result. Families may also experience greater threats to their financial stability as they try to buy more expensive insurance or pay out-of-pocket.

On October 14, 2017, the AAP sent an organizational support letter to Congress advocating for a strong 5-year extension of CHIP. AAP state-by-state CHIP fact sheets, as well as a CHIP Advocacy Toolkit listing other resources, for all early childhood stakeholders to use to advocate for extending CHIP funding. The Children's Hospital Association has also released a summary of the situation and call-to-action to advocate for extending CHIP funding.

National Indicators
America's Children 2017
T his compendium, drawn from federal statistics, reports on 41 indicators about our nation's young people. It can help a community put its own early childhood indicators in a national context, suggest indicators for community measurement and understand indicator shifts over time.
Interactive Tool
Data on Preschool Children
T he Urban Institute shares state and local data on 10 characteristics of children ages 3 to 5. The information can help system builders see if family income, employment, education, nativity or other factors may be barriers to children's enrollment in early education. The data is drawn from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey.

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.