Healthy social-emotional development lays the foundation for overall health, well-being, and success in school and life.

LAUNCH Together is an initiative designed to improve social-emotional and developmental outcomes for Colorado’s young children and their families. A unique partnership between Early Milestones, eight Colorado-based foundations, five counties, and the Butler Institute for Families supports community prevention and health promotion practices and builds coordinated systems. LAUNCH Together is inspired by the outcomes of Project LAUNCH, a national effort of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Early Milestones serves as the lead agency for this multi-year initiative. We champion the work and provide technical assistance, facilitate the online learning community, and advance state systems coordination.

The Colorado Context

26.5% of Colorado’s parents have concerns about their children’s emotion or behavior.

26.5% of Colorado’s parents have concerns about their children’s emotion or behavior.

Many of these parents have moderate or severe concerns, yet only a fraction accessed mental health care.
Less than half of the social-emotional, developmental or mental health problems are detected before children enter school.

Less than half of the social-emotional or developmental problems are detected before children enter school.

The number of children in Colorado grew by 12%.

The number of children in Colorado has grown by 12% over the last decade.

Colorado has the 8th-fastest growing child population in the country.

Strategies for Sustainable Change

LAUNCH Together supports collaboration across health and mental health, early childhood, and family supports to improve local infrastructure, streamline services, and infuse early childhood mental health knowledge. Building on work in Weld and Adams counties, four communities were selected in 2016 to implement five key strategies. These innovators are creating a vision for early childhood social-emotional health with a focus on reducing mental health disparities among vulnerable populations.

A critical component of LAUNCH Together is advancing opportunities to improve statewide systems supporting early childhood mental health. Below is a selection of efforts supported by LAUNCH Together.

 

LAUNCH Strategies

Communities in Action

Chaffee & Fremont

When combined, these two rural counties are the size of the state of Delaware. Because of this, families often must drive hours to major population centers in order to access promotion, prevention, and early identification services. Partners are working to address regional equity challenges by creating a unique and innovative rural model for improved service delivery of these critical social-emotional supports.

Jefferson

The “Gateway to the Rockies” has a strong history of collaborating to address the challenges of its most vulnerable populations. However, access to mental health services is becoming increasingly difficult due to gentrification and transportation issues. Partners across Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, and Edgewater are building a coordinated system of community-based mental health services focused on children birth through age three.

Pueblo

Pueblo’s deep-rooted stigma about mental health, coupled with intergenerational poverty, makes changing patterns and attitudes towards children’s social-emotional development especially challenging. A diverse collaboration of child-focused leaders is committed to changing this culture by building a common understanding of the importance of social-emotional development and creating a seamless process for families to access critical services.

Southwest Denver

An estimated 12,500 children under the age of eight live in Southwest Denver alone. Faced with risk factors such as high poverty and domestic violence rates, as well as low preschool enrollment, Denver is leveraging community assets and collective impact expertise to create a trauma-informed system that supports social-emotional development.

What Our Partners are Saying

LAUNCH Together is contributing to a growing community-wide recognition of the need to prevent adverse childhood events in young children and help young families deal with their own traumas to improve the social-emotional well-being of themselves and their children.

LAUNCH Together has given us the opportunity not only to collaborate with other agencies but to become partners in making sure the programs we operate are given every opportunity to be supported. The social-emotional support, coaching, and education offered to [early care and learning programs] have really helped teachers who are dealing with a lot of difficult behaviors.

The work LAUNCH Together is doing for home visitation programs has been the most focused and exciting partnership we’ve been a part of. To have local home visitation programs meeting and brainstorming in the same room has been so rewarding and meaningful. To have all of us working toward the same goals for the benefit of the families we work with will only lead to better outcomes for all.

Partners

Thank you to the many partners who make this initiative successful, including local communities implementing the work, the Butler Institute for Families, and the eight Colorado-based foundations that provide funding and serve as the project advisory team.

  • Buell Foundation
  • CO Health Foundation
  • Community First Foundation
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • The Piton Foundation at Gary Community Investments
  • ZOMA Foundation