Building and Improving Our Early Childhood System
MECC is continually working to improve our early childhood system using the EC Colorado Framework as our guide. Of the six foundational elements necessary for a strong, integrated and comprehensive system, we are focusing on building partnerships, funding and investing, engaging the public, and generating education and leadership opportunities. We do this in a variety of ways.
As an It’s About Kids Network Community, MECC invited staff from the Colorado Children’s Campaign to share KIDS Count Data about Montezuma and Dolores counties in summer 2012 and 2013. 26 community leaders were in attendance at our first meeting, and at our second meeting to hear compelling data about the state of children and their families in our community. Although the statistics were sobering, most in attendance weren’t surprised, and we felt heartened, as we looked around the room, at the passion and commitment of those attending. The Colorado Children’s Campaign publishes on online newsletter called Kids Flash, that gives a brief summary of news impacting Colorado’s children.
In January 2013 Jordana Ash, Kid Connects Project Director, and Amber Minogue, TA Consultant, did a 1.5 day Regional Training for members of the Montelores and La Plata Early Childhood Councils. They reviewed the results of a Community Readiness Assessment that members had completed online, and presented an overview of the benefits of participating in Kid Connects. Kid Connects is an Integrated Health and Mental Health Consultation Model designed to help communities provide effective mental health consultation services to ECE providers and families. Many strengths and needs were identified during the time we spent together. Rather than let the gaps in our Early Childhood MH Consultation services overwhelm us, our leaders reminded us of a frequently-expressed theme, that of holding hope.
We drafted a preliminary technical assistance plan and a small group of MECC members have established a Reflective Practices Leadership Team. Our hope is to develop a set of reflective processes including discussion and consultation that will enhance the quality of ECE in our community.