The purpose of the ECCS Impact Project is to enhance early childhood systems building and demonstrate improved outcomes in population-based children’s developmental health and family well-being indicators using a Collaborative, Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) approach. An additional goal of the ECCS Impact Project is the development of collective impact expertise, implementation and sustainability of efforts at the state, county and community levels. The overall aim of the ECCS Impact Project is that within 60 months, communities participating in the ECCS Impact CoIIN will show a 25 percent increase from baseline in age appropriate developmental skills of their community’s three year old children. Florida is one of 12 states awarded the five-year ECCS Impact grant (2016-2021).
The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, Inc. (FAHSC), the nonprofit organization administering the Florida Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Initiative, oversees the implementation of the ECCS Impact grant. Two place-based communities are participating in the ECCS Impact CoIIN, which requires testing of strategies using the Model for Improvement and monthly data collection. Based on the work conducted so far, it has become apparent that addressing racial equity must play a vital role in promoting child development within the place-based communities. Racial equity is one of the top priorities the ECCS State Advisory Group must address. The State Advisory Group includes staff from the Office of Early Learning and several other state leaders from the early childhood sector. Professional development is greatly needed to help direct service staff, managers and policy makers understand how racial inequity and implicit bias are pervasive and cannot be ignored.
To build on the work of the Florida ECCS Impact Project, additional funding and support will be provided through Project HOPE (Harnessing Opportunity for Positive, Equitable Early Childhood Development). HOPE is designed to generate progress toward equitable outcomes for young children (prenatal to age five) and their families by building the capacity of local communities and state leaders to prevent social adversities in early childhood and promote child wellbeing. The Florida ECCS Impact Project was selected as one of three states to receive this funding because of the similar priorities and goals. The Project HOPE Consortium includes BMC Vital Village Network, the BUILD Initiative, and Nemours and is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations. HOPE will provide technical assistance on reducing inequities by addressing early childhood adversity through systems alignment, policy, and capacity-building strategies and aims to disseminate learnings from HOPE grantees to scale strategies to improve child wellbeing. Since Nemours and the BUILD Initiative have already been working with the Office of Early Learning, they are familiar with Florida’s early childhood system and are in a good position to provide guidance