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 November/December 2014 - Child/Youth Development

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By Millie Jones, MPH

"Children are one third of our population and all of our future." -- Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

Over the past two years I have enjoyed using the M- the C- and the H to describe the importance of MCH, how we use Title V and all that we expect of Title V.

In 2015, we will embark on several initiatives that will require us to think "big picture vision." We will actively engage in the implementation of the transformation of Title V and AMCHP strategic planning for 2015-2018 (just two examples). [more]



By Lori Tremmel Freeman, BS, MBA
Chief Executive Officer, AMCHP

There is a certain type of special needs child that I've always had a professional and personal interest and concern for -- that of the mentally ill child. My reference here is not limited to mental illness associated directly or indirectly with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. The mental illness afflicting children that I'm referring to are those suffering from mood or anxiety disorders at a young age that present risk for deep depression and suicide. The added tragedy is that these types of mental illness can be created and exacerbated by environmental exposures of young children to poverty, social and economic status, child abuse, violence or bullying. [more]



Coming Soon: THE RAISING OF AMERICA Documentary Series on Early Childhood

By Rachel A. Poulain
Director of Public Engagement & Associate Producer, California Newsreel

The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation is a five-part documentary series that explores how a strong start for all our kids leads to a healthier, stronger and more equitable nation.

Growing scientific evidence reveals how experiences in the first years of life build the foundation for lifelong physical, socioemotional and cognitive health and development -- for better or for worse.[more]


Welcome Family Massachusetts: A Gateway into the Early Childhood System of Care

By Katie Stetler, MPH
CDC Public Health Prevention Service Fellow, on behalf of the Welcome Family Massachusetts Team

In September 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), using federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funds, launched the Welcome Family Massachusetts program. The program was created to improve population health and well-being and build a seamless system of care for families and young children in Massachusetts. [more]


Dads Connecting With Dads: Dynamic!

By Greg Schell
Director, Fathers Network, Kindering

When dads take the time to connect with other dads having children with special needs, and/or chronic health conditions, the results are rather incredible. The University of Washington-Bothell conducted research regarding Washington State Fathers Network (WSFN) in late 2012, substantiating some very positive and powerful affects on fathers, their children and families. This was very encouraging information, but not totally unexpected. [more]


Developmental Screening Round-up: Strategies and Efforts to Promote and Improve Developmental and Autism Screening, and Early Identification Systems

By Kate Taft, MPH
Senior Program Manager, Child Health, AMCHP

Christie Lillard
Program Intern, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, AMCHP

As many as one in four children through age five are at risk for a developmental delay or disability. Title V programs and partners have long recognized the need for coordinated, comprehensive systems for developmental screening and early identification. Through state and federal efforts, there has been a strong focus on activities related to promoting early screening, identification and referral to intervention services. In 2014, AMCHP conducted an environmental scan of "State Strategies and Initiatives to Improve Developmental and Autism Screening, and Early Identification Systems." The scan provided a broad picture of state activity, including the role of Title V programs, related to developmental screening and early identification.[more]


Tele-Intervention to Support Access to Care

By Diane Behl
National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management

Those working within the maternal and child health system are familiar with the challenges faced by families in accessing needed specialized services. This reality is particularly frustrating when paired with our knowledge that optimal outcomes for children with special needs depends on access to high quality, specialized early intervention services. For example, families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) who require very specialized interventionists trained in the child's communication mode are often only found in urban settings. [more]


Oral Health Resources for Home Visitors

By Marcia A. Manter, MA
Early Childhood Committee, Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Statistics from CDC indicate that close to 50 percent of children entering kindergarten already have decayed primary teeth, which puts them at risk for having tooth decay in their permanent teeth. If left untreated, the infection can result in pain and affect children's overall health and well-being. This can lead to difficulty with learning, concentrating and socializing. The good news is that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable. Early childhood professionals, such as home visitors, that serve families with young children have an important role in helping to increase the number of children who enter kindergarten cavity free. [more]


AAP Puts Spotlight on Toxic Stress and Resilience in Children: Promotes A Toxic Stress-Informed Federal Policy Agenda
Last June, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hosted a seminal, daylong Symposium on Child Health, Resilience & Toxic Stress in
Washington, DC. The event convened federal policymakers, national thought leaders and partner organizations -- including AMCHP -- to discuss the emerging science demonstrating the impact of toxic stress on a child's lifelong health. The Symposium also helped "create consensus on a broad, implementable vision to strengthen federal policies and funding to address toxic stress and early childhood adversity." [more]


Promoting School Connectedness through Positive Youth Development

By Amber Arb
Region V Member

In February 2010 the Pew Research Center released a report on Millennials, the generation of teens and young adults born after 1980. According to the Pew Report, Millennials are "far and away the most educated generation with over half of all Millennials (54 percent) having some college education." Predicting this trend in educational attainment will continue to grow due to the demands of our current knowledge-based economy, the academic success of young people is becoming increasingly vital to the health of our country. Youth advocates and researchers spend a great deal of time trying to influence youth behaviors and environments to promote positive development and a seamless transition into adulthood. Taking into account where young people spend the majority of their time, it is clear that we need to start with the schools. [more]


Integrating Injury Prevention into Home Visiting

By Jennifer Allison, Ph.D.
Director, Children's Safety Network

Rebekah Hunt, MPA
Training and Technical Associate, Children's Safety Network

Injury is a leading cause of child mortality and morbidity. In 2012, injuries resulted in more than 3,320 deaths and 4.3 million emergency department visits among zero to four year olds in the United States (CDC WISQARS). Home visitors can play an essential role in raising awareness about injury hazards, identifying risk and protective factors in the home, and teaching caregivers how to prevent injuries in a culturally competent and developmentally appropriate way. [more]



Putting Evidence-Based Policy to the Test -- Prospects for the MIECHV Program

By Brent Ewig, MHS
Director, Public Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP

Once again we are approaching a crossroads for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) program. As a reminder, Congress created MIECHV in 2010 to improve health and developmental outcomes for children and families who reside in vulnerable communities through implementation of evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs. The program builds on decades of research demonstrating the value of home visiting as a service delivery strategy, with an original authorization providing $1.5 billion for fiscal years 2010-2014. [more]



The Bumps in the Road

By Rylin Rodgers
Training Director, Family Leadership Coordinator, Riley Child Development Center

Looking back to my now teen