Great Start Communications Bulletin (June 27)



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.

Please also remember to register to share one of your activities or resource materials at a table during the lunch session. The TA team is often asked for examples of local orientation materials, operating guidelines, website designs, Strengthening Families materials, central intake forms etc., and this is a great opportunity to share and see materials that have been created. Please respond to this brief survey by June 30 if you have materials and ideas to share!

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!

Great Start Orientation – August 3

The final Great Start Orientation for FY16 will be held on August 3in 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!


2016 national KIDS COUNT Data Book
Last week, the 2016 national KIDS COUNT Data Book was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The results were mixed for Michigan. While improving in overall child well-being from 33rd to 31st, the state continues to rank last in the Great Lakes region. The annual report allows Michigan to compare key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years with other states.

All four health indicators, along with the measures related to youth outcomes, showed improvement, but higher rates of children are living in poverty and concentrated poverty and their parents are still struggling to find regular, full-time jobs since the last year of the Great Recession. Michigan has also fallen in the bottom ten in the country for education outcomes for kids. The state rankings, based on 16 measures in four domains, show Michigan at:

  • Education: 40th (37th in 2015);
  • Family and community: 29th (same in 2015);
  • Economic well-being: 28th (33rd in 2015); and
  • Health: 14th (23rd in 2015).

The data book makes a number of policy recommendations based on the country’s shared values of opportunity, responsibility and security to ensure that all children are prepared for the future. These include continuing to expand access to high-quality preschool, restoring the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and providing paid family leave.

For more state and local data, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.


Catalog of Early Childhood Funding in Michigan
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan published “Catalog of Early Childhood Funding in Michigan” to help stakeholders navigate the early childhood landscape in the state.


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.

The Early Learning Pay Gap
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services released a joint report highlighting the importance of supporting the early learning workforce. High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce-Low Compensation Undermines Quality summarizes the research base and includes recommendations for reaching pay parity across all early learning settings.

The State of Preschool 2015
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released its annual State of Preschool report “The State of Preschool 2015” which finds that the number of 3- and 4-year-olds in state-funded classrooms rose slightly during the 2014-15 school year.

Ten Questions Local Policymakers Should Ask About Preschool
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) published “Ten Questions Local Policymakers Should Ask About Expanding Access to Preschool.

Building Inclusive, High Quality Early Care and Education
Here are three new resources related to building inclusive, high quality early care and education settings for children:


Supporting Low-Income Mothers with Depression
CLASP released Seizing New Policy Opportunities to Help Low-Income Mothers with Depression: Current Landscape, Innovations, and Next Steps, which offers practical ideas for state and federal action to support low-income mothers with depression.

Babies’ Mental Health Matters in the House!
On June 15, the House of Representatives took a big step toward incorporating infant-early childhood mental health into national mental health policy. The Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which includes a provision authorizing $20 million for infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment for children from birth through age five. Similar to an almost identical provision in the Senate Mental Health Reform Act, these grants would fund activities such as training mental health professionals to work with the youngest children and infusing awareness and knowledge of IECMH into other child-serving settings, for example, through mental health consultation. Mental health services may specifically include multi-generational therapy and other services to support the caregiving relationship.


Five Ways that Fathers Matter
Father’s Day is a time to pause and think about the many ways that dads make a difference in their children’s lives. Research shows that fathers positive engagement can improve child well-being whether they live full-time with their children or not. Fatherhood is a complex and evolving concept, but there are some things we know for sure about its value for kids. Read more here.

Five Essentials to Meaningful Play
When you think back on your childhood, what happy play memories come to mind? Adults today tend to think back on their childhood play memories with nostalgia and often call them the “good old days.” Are our children experiencing the same kind of joy and meaning in their play? Here are five elements essential to meaningful play that create those rich memories we treasure.

Why Interaction Must Come Before Language
Every family member is eager to hear their child use words and start putting sentences together. But did you know that the road to successful communication begins long before children start using words?


Summer Food Insecurity among Children
Children can be cognitively and emotionally affected by food insecurity in their household. Food insecurity can mean family members are worried food will run out, or cannot afford balanced meals, for example; it affected nearly 7.5 million U.S. households with children in 2014 alone. Low-income students have access to free and reduced-price meals during the school year. But what about summer? Read more from Child Trends here.


What’s Happening in the Network: Focus on Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle

Beginning Steps for Bridging the Kindergarten Transition Gap
COP Great Start Collaborative has begun addressing needs identified in Kindergarten transition across their three counties. They have found that a key to developing consistent practices is through building relationships and increasing understanding of each other’s role. Learn more about how they are building learning communities across key sectors here.


Kansas Develops Cultural Awareness Toolkit
A new multimedia toolkit is helping home visitors and other early childhood professionals engage diverse populations and improve practice in cross-cultural settings. The Cultural Awareness, Respect, and Engagement (C.A.R.E.) Toolkit features a variety of resources that demonstrate the importance of understanding culture and its impact on practice. The toolkit is broken into three sections:

  • Webcasts – eight modules ranging from introductory overviews to detailed explanations of different cultural concepts, including: how culture affects your concept of self relative to others, concepts of time, and nonverbal communication across cultures.
  • Working with Specific Populations – interactive webpages featuring resources for specific cultures, including Iraqi, Somali, and Burmese.
  • Resources – links to additional resources on topics such as working with refugees and becoming culturally competent.
  • The C.A.R.E Toolkit was developed in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting and Project LAUNCH programs, and the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research. It is posted on the Kansas Home Visiting website.

Dual Language Learners
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education released a joint “Policy Statement on Supporting the Development of Children Who Are Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Programs” and a corresponding toolkit with resources to support young children who are learning their home languages and English. Read more at Education Week. The new DLL policy statement was released in conjunction with the White House, Too Small to Fail and the Invest in US campaign event at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in Miami, FL highlighting current challenges and future actions necessary to improve the early learning experiences of dual language learners. First Five Years Fund (FFYF) created a Storify of the event.

Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children
The National Women’s Law Center created a new action agenda, Set Up for Success: Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children, focused on the policies, practices, and strategies that can help low-wage working parents in their struggle to support their families and promote their children’s growth and development.

Quick Links
Great Start Network Staff Information Change Notice

Great Start Network

Kids Count
Kids Count 2015 Data Book

Release Materials Updated 1/10/14

Tool Kits & Resources
CHAP Toolkit

Hiring Toolkit

Great Start Data Set

Right Start in Michigan

Publications and Resources
Quality in Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Settings

Review of Quality in Home-Based Child Care