Great Start Communications Bulletin (July 11)



Network Happenings: Upcoming Webinar Opportunity
Please join Shiawassee County GSC on July 20 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and learn about their successful centralized intake and data project. Over the last 5 years, Shiawassee County early childhood agencies have increased coordination by streamlining the intake process for several programs such as the Maternal Infant Health Program, CACS Head Start, Prevention Services through the Department of Health and Human Services, Early On, and Infant Mental Health. The Shiawassee Great Start Central Intake is a central point of access to an integrated system of care provided to children ages birth to five. The Shiawassee Great Start Central Intake and Great Start Database allows families and providers to make one call to connect them to all services the family may need and allows inter-agency data sharing to increase collaboration and coordination for service delivery to families in Shiawassee County. Please register for this webinar today!

August 16 Statewide Convening Registration is Open
We are looking forward to seeing everyone on August 16 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Lansing Community College West for our next statewide gathering. Registration is now open, and we strongly encourage all Collaborative Directors and Parent Liaisons to attend, as well as other staff responsible for the 32p work. Finance staff do not need to attend unless interested. In the morning, Rachel Mellema will share information about the Section 32p application process and expectations for FY17, and in the afternoon, there will be four workshop sessions offered featuring Collaboratives and Coalitions from throughout the state. In order to prepare for room set-up we are asking participants to pre-register for the session they will attend. Brief session descriptions are included in the registration link.

Great Start Orientation – August 3
The final Great Start Orientation for FY16 will be held on August 3 in Lansing from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The agenda includes an overview of the Great Start Initiative, Early Childhood System Building, Purpose of Collaboratives and Coalitions, review of Key Documents, Clarify Roles, and how to access tools and technical assistance. We encourage you to attend as a team if at all possible (Director and Parent Liaison). To participate, please register here.

If you have any questions about orientation or need support as you begin your new role, please contact the TA Helpline at We look forward to seeing you there!


Autism Parent Involvement Study
The MSU Autism Lab is conducting a Parent Involvement study to learn more about varying levels of parent training support. This project, funded by the US Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, is designed to measure the effectiveness of different components of an internet-based program designed to improve parent involvement in intervention for families of young children with ASD. Since all training will be administered remotely, families do not need to live near the research site. Families with children who have an Autism diagnosis and who are between 18 and 72 months old are eligible to participate. A link to a video description of the study along with the flyer for the study are attached. Please share this with families in your community who might be interested.


Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016
Late last week, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, released the
Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016. The Early Childhood Workforce Index is a comprehensive state-by state analysis of early childhood employment conditions and policies. While there is scientific consensus that early childhood education is central to shaping children’s lifelong knowledge and skills, the authors found that policies in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. fall short on a number of measurable indicators, which include earnings and economic security, early childhood workforce policies, and family and income support policies. These categories cover pay, professional development, paid planning time, paid sick leave, and a number of other important programs and policies that impact the ability of early educators to teach effectively and remain on the job.

Faith Based Community Resources Needed
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans is creating a toolkit to support faith based communities in expanding or initiating high-quality early learning programming for young children and their families. They are looking for information or resources to assist their office, along with National Black Child Development Institute, (NBCDI) to continue developing a practical tool for faith based leaders and communities. Specifically, they would like to know if any of the Great Start Collaboratives in Michigan have faith-based examples with successful implementation and delivery of high-quality early learning educational services. If you have anything to contribute, please email the helpline at

“Lack of Pay Parity Undermines Quality”
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children & Families (ACF), Office of Early Childhood Development, released the report “High Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High Quality Workforce: Lack of Pay Parity Undermines Quality,” connecting the research on early brain development and high-quality early learning settings with the compensation and other issues facing the early childhood workforce. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development Linda Smith noted in the release, “Wage parity across settings is critical to attracting and retaining a high-quality workforce, essential for a high-quality program.”

Home Visiting Conference
The 2016 Michigan Home Visiting Conference is being held in Detroit August 4-5, 2016. This conference is for home visitors, administrators, and parents in Michigan’s home visiting programs. The purpose of the conference is to increase knowledge of home visiting models, identify strategies to enhance home visiting practices, and to increase skills on current quality improvement methods.

The 2016 Michigan Home Visiting Conference theme is Partners in Progress and will be held over two full days. A Model Pre-Conference will occur the day before the main conference (August 3). Session topics will cover the following areas of interest: engagement, education, empowerment, and infrastructure for home visitors, parents, and supervisors.


Summer Brings Even More Opportunities for Learning
Summer is here and while learning opportunities for early childhood are available all year round, summer allows for activities that are not available during the rest of the year, especially in Michigan. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a wealth of early learning resources for parents and teachers looking to make the most of the summer. Visit the NAEYC Summer Learning with Children page to explore summer themed ideas and activities for young learners.

The Beginning of Life
On June 1, UNICEF released a comprehensive documentary called The Beginning of Life through multiple platforms (Netflix, iTunes, and Google Play). This 90-minute feature exhibits the most current research on child development for the first three years and how it manifests in real-world examples. Important areas of development such as social-emotional, cognitive and language are closely followed within the context of factors that can impact that development such as relationships, environment, and poverty.

Families are the core foundation of the film, creating a truly integrated perception of the systemic supports needed when raising a young child. The Beginning of Life is a beautiful film full of emotion and information on our youngest children. If you would like to learn more about the film, please click HERE.


Strengthening Families Resources for Parents
Parent leaders from the Alliance National Parent Partnership Council (ANPPC) recently created new resources they have been developing to help parents understand the protective factors framework and to help organizations improve how they partner with parents. These one-page tools that focus on ideas for building and sustaining strong parent partnerships in community-level work also allow parents to share with other parents some strategies for building protective factors through the strength-based approach of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework.

“Taking Care of Yourself” for Foster Parents
A new “Taking Care of Yourself” handout from the Center for the Study of Social Policy helps foster and resource parents focus on their own protective factors as they manage the challenges and rewards of caring for a child in the child welfare system. For each protective factor, this handout includes questions to ask as well as a “trauma tip” about how a child’s reaction to trauma can affect caregivers. Share this handout with foster and resource parents in your community.


Get a Nutritious Meal for a Child
It’s summertime, and the Michigan Department of Education continues the Summer Food Service Program with the annual Meet Up and Eat Up! Program. This program is a way to help parents and caregivers identify places where kids 18 and younger can gather for healthy, free summer meals at hundreds of sites across Michigan.

You can find the closest Meet up and Eat Up location to you here, so please share this with families in your community!

The Hidden Cost of Interrupting a Career for Child Care
The Center for American Progress published “Calculating the Hidden Cost of Interrupting a Career for Child Care,” an interactive tool to help families calculate the financial costs of interrupting a career to care for a child. The child care affordability crisis in the United States can be summed up in two sentences. Sixty-five percent of children younger than age 5 have all co-habiting parents in the workforce. The average annual cost to have two children in a child care center is nearly $18,000. This leaves many families to choose between spending a sizable portion of their paycheck on child care, finding less expensive-and possibly lower quality-unregulated child care, or leaving the workforce to become a full-time caregiver. This brief explores the financial toll that the latter decision places on families.

Two Generation Approach
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released an action agenda, “Set up for Success: Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children” building on its January 2016 report “Set Up to Fail: When Low-Wage Work Jeopardizes Parents’ and Children’Set Up to Fail: When Low-Wage Work Jeopardizes Parents’ and Children’s Success.” The agenda pulls together discussions from stakeholders into five key areas: parents’ income, fair workplace practices, access to high-quality early childhood care and education, parent access to paid sick days and medical leave, and parent access to education and training. Millions of parents across the country work in jobs where low wages, unfair scheduling practices, and minimal benefits make it difficult to meet both work and caregiving responsibilities. And the parents most likely to find themselves in low-wage jobs are women – disproportionately women of color and immigrant women.


Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education
The University of Pittsburgh conducted a recent scan to assess if and how parents and teachers discuss race with young children, to determine what developmental issues exist as they relate to positive racial identity, and to generate recommendations and encourage collaborations around this important issue. Attached is a video link that they created about positive racial identity development in early care and education. The video is only 5 minutes long and is a good reminder of why it’s so important to consider racial and cultural diversity in the approaches we take in building a high quality early learning system.

Suspensions and Expulsions
Last week, The Washington Post, NPR,and the Los Angeles Times covered the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights release of the Civil Rights Data Collection that highlighted the stark fact that racial disparities exist in early childhood suspension and expulsion data finding “black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white preschool children.” In addition, the research found that students with disabilities were twice as likely to be suspended as general education students.

The Case for Investing in Young Children Globally
The National Academy of Science’s report “Beyond Survival: The Case for Investing in Young Children Globally,” asserts: “Investing in young children globally is a primary means of achieving sustainable human, social, and economic development, all of which are vital to ensuring international peace and security. Strategic investments in children have been recognized by the world’s leaders in their recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to further peace, end global poverty, and ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity. For the first time, early childhood development is acknowledged as a critical part of the global development agenda. Although child development is explicitly referenced under the new education goal, it is naturally linked to other goals – reducing poverty, improving health and nutrition, promoting equality for girls and women, and reducing violence. Indeed, coordinated, evidence-based investments must be made across sectors to ensure that more and more children not only survive, but also thrive.”