Florida ECCS Expands Its Work to Improve Early Childhood System for Young Children & Families

After two and a half years of implementation, the Florida Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Impact Project has expanded the scope of its work due to additional funding provided by Nemours Children’s Health System. With the additional funding, Florida ECCS has added new place-based community representatives to its State Advisory Group and implemented new strategies to address and promote children’s health and development, equity, and community engagement. Through the partnership with Nemours, Florida ECCS was able to provide funding for the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County/ Parramore Kids Zone in Orlando to participate in the NOW (Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing) Project offered through Vital Village at Boston Medical Center. They will provide Parramore with tailored technical assistance in order to build knowledge, skills, and provide tools to scale and sustain equitable transformation of early childhood education and health system in their community. This work in Parramore will kick-off on June 20, 2019 with a Community-Based Action Lab, where early-childhood providers and community residents will come together to develop a targeted strategy for addressing healthy equity for children and their families.

In an effort to move state-level efforts forward, Florida ECCS created workgroups within the larger State Advisory Group, and hired two consultants to lead the workgroups and develop comprehensive plans for addressing the three areas of focus. Dr. Allison Pinto, a developmental psychologist and place-based community leader in Florida, will be providing research and recommendations for two areas: 1) early childhood policy changes that will promote racial equity and the health and well-being of young children and their families and 2) promoting social-emotional developmental using a two-generational approach and racial equity lens. Florida ECCS is also contracting with the University of Pennsylvania (U Penn) School of Social Policy and Practice to research and advise on options for enhancing an integrated and sustainable early childhood data collection system.  U Penn has done a lot of work in Florida and nationally related to cross-agency data governance, developing data sharing agreements, establishing unique child identifiers, and linkage and technical architecture options. Both consultants will be working closely with the Florida ECCS State Advisory Groups, state-level early childhood stakeholders, place-based communities, and the ECCS Project staff.

The additional funding from Nemours also allowed Florida ECCS to provide a two-day Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity training for the State Advisory Group members. The training was provided by the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) and provided group members with a deeper understanding of health equity and ways to operationalize equity in their work and in their individual organizations. Most recently, the ECCS state staff, state parent leader, and representatives from the place-based communities attended the 2019 Collective Impact Convening in Chicago, IL.  The Collective Impact Convening brings together funders, backbones, partners, and community members for cross-sector dialogue and peer learning to tackle complex issues in the collective impact field such as systems change, poverty, community engagement, and equity.

Florida ECCS is excited about its expansion and the work that is being done at the state and community levels to improve the early childhood system and the developmental health of young children, engage communities, and advance equity!

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