(Video courtesy of the Butler Institute for Families.)

Goals & Community Learnings

Vision

Jefferson County (Jeffco) partners envision a community in which early childhood services are aligned to support and promote healthy, thriving young children and families.

Mission

Establish community understanding of the benefits of early childhood social-emotional health and develop a collaborative infrastructure that creates a lasting positive impact on the health of young children, their families, and the community.

Lessons Learned

  • Relationships are crucial. It takes time to develop the trust and understanding for effective collaboration throughout the community.
  • Flexible and representative leadership drives implementation. Partners must be willing to self-reflect, accept external feedback, and be open to transforming organizational processes in the service of shared goals.
  • Payment reform is necessary. Until changes to public funding models (i.e., Medicaid) are made, efforts toward collaborative prevention and health promotion strategies will turn to philanthropic sources. As these sources are unreliable as long-term options, public funding allocations for early childhood mental health programs are needed to promote sustainability across the sector.
  • Community engagement must be culturally responsive. Service providers need to demonstrate an authentic commitment to continuously listen, reflect, and honor cultural differences.

Next Steps

Leaders from Jeffco’s school district, local government, and community-based providers convened in 2019 to develop a strategic plan for supporting the Jeffco’s young children and families. The resulting Jeffco Bright Futures Roadmap (the Roadmap) focuses on increasing access to quality early learning, promoting early childhood mental health consultation, expanding home visitation supports, and coordinating screening and referral data to improve collaboration and care. Jeffco is poised to build upon the successes of LAUNCH Together and the Roadmap in delivering high-quality services to children and families.

Community Partners

  • Developmental Disabilities Resource Center
  • Jefferson Center
  • Jefferson County Human Services
  • Jefferson County Public Health
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Lakewood Head Start
  • Stride Community Health Centers
  • TRIAD Early Childhood Council
  • Jefferson County Libraries
  • Colorado Community Health Alliance