Member to Member

Member states were asked to answer the following question:

What has been your greatest challenge in implementing your Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems plan and how did you overcome it? 


Loretta Fuddy, ACSW, MPH
Chief, Family Health Services Division
Hawaii State Department of Health 

The greatest challenge is the fragmented nature of the array of services for young children and their families as there is no lead agency for early childhood issues. Hawaii has been able to garner the support of the various public and private entities with the adoption of a common vision that “All of Hawaii’s children will be safe, healthy, and ready to succeed.” While each department remains committed to its specific mission, they have shared resources to overcome silos and barriers to address Hawaii’s larger vision. An example of this relates to the social-emotional development and mental health component of ECCS. Through a partnership with the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL), ECCS and the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Grant Coordinator has brought together a multi-agency leadership group to provide training and technical assistance on children’s challenging behaviors. Hundreds of practitioners, families and parents from various stakeholder groups have received training in a common framework throughout the state. To ensure continuity across systems, ECCS in conjunction with the Mental Health Transformation Grant is sponsoring an Early Childhood Mental Health Conference to address the growing behavioral health needs of young children across the various systems of care.  


Gretchen Hageman
ECCS Project Director
Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Public Health 

As part of Iowa’s Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems project, Early Childhood Iowa serves as the catalysts in the implementation of the early care, health and education system. Iowa’s greatest challenge for implementing a system has been the recognition and acceptance of early childhood as a comprehensive system that encompasses early care, health, family support and education. Prior to the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems project, Iowa’s focus was improving the system for early care and education. Over the past seven years through Early Childhood Iowa we have developed a broad based grassroots stakeholder group to influence state and local level policy and program development. Early Childhood Iowa has worked for over a year with stakeholders to develop an ECI Professional Development Framework that will serve as a road map for implementing a comprehensive early care, health and education professional development system. To learn more, visit here

New Mexico 

Emelda Martinez
Family Health Bureau, Chief & MCH Title V Director
New Mexico Department of Health

In New Mexico the ECCS grant has provided a unique opportunity to bring together public and private partners in the form of the Early Childhood Action Network (ECAN), a statewide network of over 300 early childhood champions. The work of ECAN is guided by a Steering Committee that is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of young children in New Mexico, by raising the awareness of policy makers as well as business leaders, families, educators, early childhood providers, health workers, and community members. Since the award of the ECCS grant, a representative group of early childhood stakeholders and multi-agency state personnel in New Mexico have been working toward creating a comprehensive Early Childhood Strategic Plan. In the spring of 2009 the plan was presented to the New Mexico Cabinet Secretaries of the Departments of Health; Children, Youth and Families; Public Education; and Human Services for their consideration of endorsement. Broad in its vision and goals, the plan allows for each Department to select the goals that are appropriate for individual programs and create objectives and strategies to carry out the goal, remain consistent with the plan, and ultimately reach an integrated vision for Health, Development, Early Learning, Investment, Public Engagement, Family Friendly Communities and Services, and Family Engagement for New Mexico’s children.