How is your state leveraging home visiting and early childhood comprehensive systems funding to build or increase capacity in early childhood systems?
Dianna Frick, MPH
MCH Epidemiologist, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Montana is leveraging Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Development funding and Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) funding to support early childhood collaboration and systems change at both the state and community levels. Early childhood coalitions, called Best Beginnings councils, are central to the collaboration efforts. The ultimate purpose is for the state and communities to define and develop community-specific early childhood systems that support capable, high-quality organizations and programs that meet the needs of children and families.
The state, through the collaborative efforts of MIECHV-and ECCS-funded staff, provides technical assistance to communities around key elements of collaboration, including:
- Relationship building: among state partners, between the state and communities, among communities, and within communities
- Governance structure: a structure that expects organizations, not individuals, to be engaged in and committed to systems change
- Capacity building and infrastructure development: recognizing and understanding the challenges for organizations and programs in being effective, and supporting the skills and abilities of organizations and programs to address and overcome the obstacles
- Addressing the tangles: acknowledging and dealing with history and barriers that have stopped similar efforts in the past
- Flexibility: for communities to conduct community assessments, define coalition membership and proceed at a pace that is appropriate for them