The Children’s Center Connection Vol. 2
February 2021
Letter from Rebecca Dutson, President and CEO
Dear Friends,

The Children's Center's mission is founded on the well-being of children and their families. It is unquestionable that meeting our mission is a steady pursuit, which requires us to grow and expand with our changing world.

Last year, like many of you, I was shocked and saddened by the senseless death of George Floyd. The subsequent protests brought about a much-needed wake-up call for our country. Examining systemic, institutional, and interpersonal racism was long-overdue. And unfortunately, the price paid for this introspection had been too great for far too long.

Our staff mourned with our country. We held space for ourselves and our clients. And then we set to work. We held an open-mic where staff members could share their thoughts and feelings, or just listen, and we took that time to learn from each other. With the support of University of Utah Associate Professor of Sociology, Theresa Martinez, who is also one of our Board Members, and Founder and Executive Director of the Utah Black Chamber, James Jackson III, we held team-level discussions on race relations and racism. The first article we read as an organization was From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces by John Palfrey. We joined learning groups and compiled resources. We formed planning groups.

We are committed to a framework for sustainable and ongoing work. So we prioritized more time to develop an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDI) plan and statement to guide our efforts. The plan and statement were thoughtfully crafted, gathering input from all team members and incorporating their feedback. I feel humbled and proud of our collaborative and inclusive process and am thrilled to share our organizational statement with you here.

The Children’s Center is committed to learning, changing, and growing as we continually develop a stronger environment of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging to provide compassionate care to our children and families receiving services, to our team, and to our communities. 

Our goals are to achieve the following:

  • Our clients, team, board, and volunteers reflect the communities we serve
-----------Recruitment, hiring, and retention practices promote diversity 
  • Our staff feel they can be their authentic selves at work
  • Growth and leadership opportunities are available to individuals in all roles of the organization
  • We serve as champions for promoting these values
  • We lead by example

I am here to tell you that our team cares. We committed to our work, and our efforts to build an inclusive space where ALL in our community are welcome.
President and CEO
Clinician Article: Developing Relationships in Childhood
Learn about the valuable child development skill of
building relationships in this article by our
Psychology Intern, Veronica Love:

Human beings are social beings! Developing relationships is an important skill for children to learn. There are many ways that we can help children learn to create friendships. Let’s start by thinking about how the skills develop as young children grow.

Relationship-building begins in infancy with quality early attachments. Attachment can be seen in the earliest weeks of life. A baby’s secure attachment and relationships with their most important caregivers help them understand what other relationships should look like. Attachment also builds confidence in the ability to connect with others. Attachment is built when parents pay attention to their baby’s signals, understand what the baby needs, and respond to the baby in ways that are pleasing to the parent and the baby.

Ready! Resilient! Utah Early Childhood Mental Health: What's Next?
In December, we joined the virtual Newsmaker Breakfast with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute to release the full study on Early Childhood Mental Health in Utah. Since that time, we have convened a cross-sector working group, including researchers, early childhood mental health providers, pediatricians, state leaders, and other key stakeholders, to continue the planned Phase 2 for analysis of the study. The Utah Early Childhood Mental Health Working Group will focus on better understanding gaps identified in the study through presentations and discussion on a variety of topics relating to early childhood mental health. The Working Group will prepare a roadmap to address the identified gaps with policy and program recommendations to further the critical work within our state.
Early Childhood Consultation and Training Expansion
The Utah Department of Workforce Services/Office of Child Care asked The Children’s Center to expand our Early Childhood Consultation and Training Program statewide. These services will be available to all child care providers over the next two to three years, and we look forward to working with communities throughout the state to develop additional resources for children in Utah.

• From serving primarily preschool children to include infants through kindergarten children
• From serving mostly center child care to include family child care
• From working primarily on child-focused intervention to also expanding program-focused prevention
• From much time in classrooms to hybrid services of on-site support with off-site technical assistance involving follow-up with administrators and parents
• From largely short-term, crisis support to building capacity through collaboration with regional agencies and community resources
Celebrate with Us!
We’re not letting the pandemic stop us from hosting our incredibly fun, energetic, and fast-paced jewelry sale we hold each year to raise funds for The Children's Center. We got creative and we’re taking it online! And, the best part? Hosting this event online gives us the exciting opportunity to provide easier access for more people to join from the comfort of their own home. Don't miss out on the fun!


Our Annual SHINE Gala will be held on June 4, 2021. Details to come!

If you're interested in sponsorship opportunities, contact Mary Burchett.
COVID-19 Vaccinations for the Team
The Children's Center team became eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination in January. We are thrilled to say that at this point, 87% of our staff has received their first dose of the vaccine. The health and safety of our staff and clients remain our top priority, and we are thrilled to take this important step. We continue to run closed cohorts in our therapeutic preschool classrooms, limit staff onsite, and complete temperature and wellness checks onsite.
Holiday Party at
The Children's Center
In-Kind Donations
2020 wasn't going to keep us from having our annual holiday party! Thanks to Northrop Grumman and First American Title for their continued support, even in the middle of a global pandemic. The kids loved their virtual visit with Santa, and had individual gifts and stockings to celebrate.
Thank you to Theresa Martinez and Michael Lovett for their donation of inclusive toys and books!
Help us stock our classrooms! We are always in need of supplies, snacks, clothing, and diapers. You can see our full wish list here:
Community Partner Spotlight: Friends of the Children
Friends of the Children Utah is an amazing local non-profit organization that pairs high-risk young children with paid professional mentors who regularly connect with that child for the next 12+ years until the child reaches adulthood. Mentors provide children with additional opportunities for positive, prosocial engagement with a non-familial adult. They support children in developing skills related to self-advocacy, internal resiliency, and building positive relationships.

The Children’s Center partnered with Friends of the Children to ensure that the families we serve who might benefit from this amazing program access it. With the caregivers’ permission, The Children’s Center helps do a “warm referral” to Friends of the Children, including an assessment of each child and their unique strengths/risk factors that will help Friends of the Children find the most effective mentor/child pairing.

Once that child is matched with a professional mentor, they can continue to receive all their mental health services from The Children’s Center while also receiving this valuable support from Friends of the Children in the community environment where our therapists are not able to provide direct intervention. We are grateful for this connection and wonderful added support for the families we serve! Learn more about their work on their website.