We want a system with accessible health, mental health, and social-emotional development support
Health, social development, and learning are inextricably linked inside each child’s brain and body. A sick child can not attend school. A hungry child will struggle to focus. And a child who has not developed the necessary social skills, such as working with others, attentiveness, and persistence, will lag behind peers in academic and life outcomes. As we parent, teach, and develop policies to provide services to our children, we must be mindful of these connections.
At the state and local levels, agencies that collaborate on planning, program development, and funding will more effectively support the development of the whole child. This may seem like a daunting task, but we know it can be done. Other states are making progress on coordination and alignment, and we can learn from those experiences.
Fortunately, we are not starting from scratch. Many resources have been created for the Connecticut Early Childhood Cabinet, such as A Framework for Child Health Services. Recently a group of Connecticut foundations commissioned a report from the BUILD initiative, which works with states to help develop comprehensive early childhood development systems. The report will offer recommendations for Connecticut.
We cannot continue to “divide the child” into separate service-delivery clients. We must pay attention to the whole child.
Please consider hosting a community screening of this video. It is an opportunity to bring people together to converse and identify the best approaches to improving our state's early childhood system.
To support your efforts, we offer this video screening toolkit and topic guide.