Goals & Community Learnings

Vision

All children and their families are valued socially and emotionally, healthy, and their relationships are thriving.

Mission

Increase coordination of early childhood systems, to expand prevention and promotion strategies to support the social-emotional health and development of children, ages prenatal through kindergarten transitions, throughout the region, and to ensure their success in school.

Lessons Learned

  • Early Childhood Councils ARE vehicles for systemic change. When early childhood councils have the opportunity, funding, and time to engage in complex work, they are best equipped to identify and imbed sustainable solutions.
  • Retaining a skilled workforce is an ongoing challenge. Over the last four years, a single pediatric practice has seen an 80% reduction in staff. Similar turnover has occurred in home visitation and early childhood education. Rural communities have difficulty attracting and keeping professionals due to lower wages and greater distance to various amenities.
  • A regional approach improves relationships and results. A history of collaboration between early childhood councils in Fremont and Chaffee counties led to an efficient and effective start to LAUNCH Together work.
  • Building capacity for existing workforce is essential. Professional development for existing early childhood and medical professionals has resulted in greater understanding of the importance of early social-emotional development for later school readiness and success. Service providers now assess and refer earlier and more often.

Next Steps

  • The Council intends to continue refining behavioral health integration at St. Thomas Moore/Centura Health and Valley Wide Health Services. These connections are critical to ensuring practitioners can identify children’s social and emotional needs and obtain services for them.  

  • The Council’s Referral Hub is a single entry process to ECMH services. The Council expanded to include mental and behavioral health specialists from St. Thomas More/Centura Health, Head Start, Early Head Start, Cañon City Schools, and Solvista Health. Additional funding is essential to developing and promoting the Hub.  

  • The Council will continue to build knowledge about the effects of early trauma on a child’s future success. Further work will support families, care providers, and agencies in developing skills to identify and remedy early trauma.

Community Partners

  • ECHO & Family Center Early Childhood Council
  • Cañon City, Fremont RE-2 and Cotopaxi Schools 
  • Fremont County Department of Public Health and Environment 
  • Starpoint for the Fremont County Family Center, Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Parents as Teachers
  • Fremont County Head Start
  • St. Thomas More Hospital
  • Centura Health Primary Care
  • Valley Wide Health Systems Primary Care & Nurse Family Partnership
  • Solvista Health
  • Fremont County Department of Human Services 
  • Children First Resource and Referral