Great Start Communications Bulletin (2.13.2017)


Register for the Parent Liaison Strengthening Families / Parent Café Training
All Parent Liaisons who will be conducting the Strengthening Families Assessment during FY18 are invited to participate in this interactive, all day event that will teach Liaisons how to introduce Strengthening Families to their GSPC members and effectively facilitate parent cafés. This training will provide participants with step by step directions, training materials, an opportunity to practice, and the knowledge and confidence to conduct a training.  Please note that this training will assume that participants have a basic understanding of the Strengthening Families framework and the Protective Factors.  If you did not participate in the Strengthening Families training held in November (or at another time), we ask that you complete at least the overview module of the on-line training, available here.

This training will take place on April 25 in Shepherd, MI., and we invite you to register today for this wonderful learning opportunity!

Adaptive Schools Registration is Open!
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is pleased to again offer the four-day Adaptive Schools Foundation Training for building strong and effective groups. The training will be held on May 24-25 and August 22-23 at the Genesee Career Institute, G5081 Torrey Rd, in Flint. This four-day Foundation Seminar will train participants in techniques to build strong and effective groups, resulting in dynamic and energized meetings.  Participants will increase their effectiveness as staff and facilitators of Great Start Collaboratives, Great Start Parent Coalitions, and Great Start to Quality Resource Centers as well as learn practical tools for engaging members and partners.

Training Outcomes Include:

  • Increased flexibility and confidence as a group facilitator.
  • New meeting structures that promote successful decision making.
  • Tools to help enhance group productivity, increasing group member satisfaction & member engagement.
  • Ways of talking that increase shared understanding and meaning among group members.
  • Ways to value and use dissention, argument and conflict.
  • Strategies for keeping group members on track, on topic, energized and resourceful.
  • Techniques and insights for ensuring the group are welcoming to diverse perspectives.

Please register for the training here. Priority will be given to new Collaborative and Coalition staff, as well as GSQ staff who have not yet taken this training.

2017 Parent-Led Strategies
In order to support you in implementing the Parent-Led Strategies outlined in your FY17 applications, the TA team has reviewed your applications and compiled a spreadsheet (located on the new Great Start Network site in the Collaborative and Coalition page, in the documents folder) so you can see what others throughout the state are doing to strengthen parent member involvement. In the next several months, we will be reaching out to many of you to highlight your work in the bulletin or in webinars or phone calls – we want to make sure you are able to show off your great work!

We also encourage you to use the Great Start Network Discussion Board (on the NEW site), which allows you to easily share ideas, ask each other questions, and highlight how you are successfully implementing your strategies and activities.

If you would like support, please do not hesitate to contact the TA Helpline – we would love to help you and learn more about what you are doing!


Trusted Advisors Webinar 
The Trusted Advisors Grant Application is in the final stages of approval and will be available soon!  Once it has been released, we will email the application and supporting documents to all Parent Liaisons and GSC Directors.  If you have specific questions about the application, please contact Desiree Hughes at MDE-OGS at .


Great Start Network Site – ATTENTION! Download 32p Materials
We are close to completing the transfer of all relevant resources and materials from the old Great Start Network site to the new one. Please be advised that once the old site is closed down at the end of February, your previous 32p applications and reports will not be available via the site. If you do not have these documents saved already, please go onto the old site and download your previous 32p applications and reports no later than February 24. Your FY17 32p application and future reports will be listed on the new Great Start Network site moving forward.

Keeping Information Updated

  • Local GSC page
    Has your phone number or office extension changed, or do you need to update any of your contact information? Do you have a picture to share?  Please inform ECIC of these changes and send us your profile picture. Keeping your information current helps ECIC and your peers to connect with you and we would all love to see your picture next to your name on your local page!
  • Orientation Tab
    Great Start Network has added the tab “GSC Orientation”. Please take a minute to explore the resources on this page. The landing page includes links to websites, and the documents folder includes the GSC and GSPC Purposes and other key guiding documents. You are welcome to download and share these resources, as they can not only be used to educate new staff, but also to educate local partners about your work.
  • Staff Changes
    Have you had a change in staffing, hired a new Parent Liaison, Co-Liaison, Director, or Co-Director/Coordinator? If so, please complete and email this form to the Helpline,, to let us know. Submitting this form allows new staff to be invited to the next in-person Orientation, gain access to the GSN site and the Communications Bulletin, and receive other resources. Also, we report staffing changes to the Office of Great Start monthly to assist them in communicating with your team, so it is important to remember to let us know the status of your staff changes. Thank you for helping us keep our lists and information accurate.


Governor Snyder Releases State Budget
On February 8, Governor Snyder released his 2018-2019 budget. We will share summaries regarding the budget as they become available, but the full document is here for those who are interested.

Child Care is Fundamental to America’s Children, Families, and Economy
As the new federal administration begins, we thought it important to share a  resource from the National Women’s Law Center to help inform your local and regional child care education efforts.

Infant-Toddler Agenda for the New Administration and Congress
ZERO TO THREE released their policy agenda for the new administration and Congress on infant and toddler issues.


Creating a Trauma-Informed Home Visiting Program
HV-ImpACT produced an Issue Brief on Trauma-informed Practices in Home Visiting. The brief shares research on the impact and prevalence of trauma in the home visiting community, along with informed strategies on integrating a trauma-informed approach into existing systems of care. The brief includes snapshots from home visiting programs who are implementing trauma-informed practices, along with lessons learned, and suggested action steps. visit this site to download the brief.


Strengthening Families through Early Childhood Education
Do you want to know more about the Big Ideas behind the Strengthening Families™ approach? Do you want concrete examples of the Five Protective Factors and what implementation support looks like at a teacher, program and systems level?

Join Cailin O’Connor and Anna Lovejoy from the Center for the Study of Social Policy for this overview of Strengthening Families™. Designed for any early childhood professional who is looking for new ways to engage and support families, this PDG TA Family Engagement Community of Practice webinar will be held on Thursday, February 16 from 3-4 p.m. ET. Join us as we take a deeper dive into Strengthening Families™.


Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read
At a recent ECIC training, the presenter referenced dialogic reading as an effective literacy practice. More information can be found on dialogic readinghere.

How to Identify and Support Children Experiencing Stress
This January 2017 resource highlights ways in which infants and toddlers may show caregivers that they are experiencing stress. The publication also offers effective strategies to reduce children’s stress levels.

Supporting the Language Development of Infants and Toddlers with Home Languages Other than English
Recent research underscores the importance of supporting both the language(s) of home and the language of school (usually English) for young children who are growing up with multiple languages. Supporting the youngest dual language learners or DLLs may be new to some early childhood colleagues. Here are two concise tip sheets filled with ideas for how to support the language development of very young DLLs: Language Modeling with Dual Language Learning Infants and Language Modeling with Dual Language Learning Toddlers.


Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families released aguide on the importance of and providing trauma-informed human services. The guide is intended to provide an introduction to the topic of trauma, a discussion of why understanding and addressing trauma is important for human services programs, and a “road map” to find relevant resources.

Position Statement on Child Maltreatment
The Division for the Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC) recently released a position statement on child maltreatment, endorsed by ZERO TO THREE. The position statement provides guidance on how the field can prevent and reduce instances of maltreatment and how to intervene to support young children with disabilities and their families who have experienced maltreatment. This document includes an overview of the issue, DEC’s position, and DEC’s recommendations to the field.


Collaboration Essentials Group Training
Ready to Raise is offering the opportunity for collaborative teams to participate in online training to build community capacity, improve collaborative culture and sustain efforts. The Collaboration Essentials training integrates adult learning principles, solid community development theory and techniques and resources in an “online training” that is highly interactive, locally focused and increasingly full of value. The unique design of Collaboration Essentials blends online individual learning AND group interaction. Learn more here.


Racial Equity
Wilder Research, Development and Training, and the University of Minnesota, released a report on developing an early childhood system rooted in racial equity.

Summit on Race and Inclusion
The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is pleased to announce their Summit on Race and Inclusion 2017. Registration opens February 14th for the Summit being held on May 23, 2017 at Frauenthal Center, Muskegon. Please visit their website to register.

5 Ways to Improve Young Latino Children’s Math Skills
Latino children currently account for nearly one quarter of the U.S. child population, and that share is expected to rise to one third by 2050. Butnew research shows that, for all their growing numbers, these young people lag behind their non-Latino peers academically. In a new analysis of a nationally representative database of kindergartners, Child Trends found that Latino kindergartners’ early math skills trail those of white kindergartners by the equivalent of 3 months’ learning at the start of school.Without intervention, this disparity is likely to persist–and could increase–over time.

But these trends are not inevitable. Child Trends’ report also offers some research-based recommendations for improving Latinos’ early math achievement.


ZERO TO THREE: Mental Health Assessment and Treatment of Infants, Young Children, and Families
In October, 2016, ten states convened around the topic of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH), with a specific focus on strategies to improve assessment, diagnosis and treatment. The summary of proceedings from that work, Aligning Policy and Practice: Mental Health Assessment and Treatment of Infants, Young Children, and Families, is now available for download. The proceedings describe presentations from national experts, cross-state and cross-sector discussion sessions, and development of state action plans focused on IECMH financing policy. This new report also summarizes the content of four expert presentations and 20 tabletop discussions on a variety of related topics, and outlines highlights from the two days as well as next steps identified by the participants.

New Planning Tool for States and Communities
The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center announced the release of a new planning tool,  Expanding Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Supports and Services: A Planning Tool for States and Communities.  This new resource provides a set of questions that can help to:

  • inform and organize cross-system, multi-sector planning efforts;
  • inventory existing resources, policies, and programs;
  • identify gaps and missing linkages; and
  • align policy with best practice.

This action-oriented tool guides you through data collection and analysis across six areas of consideration:

  1. Robust Access to a Continuum of Supports and Services (Promotion, Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment)
  2. Strong Workforce Capacity and Professional Development
  3. Embedding IECMH Across Child-Serving Systems
  4. Comprehensive System-Wide Planning and Infrastructure
  5. Properly Financed System
  6. Effective Messaging That Builds Public and Political Will

The planning tool is available on the ZERO TO THREE website. If you would like to consult with someone at ZERO TO THREE about using this tool in your state or community, please contact Lindsay Usry.