Great Start Communications Bulletin (4.24.2017)


Webinar Recordings: Engaging Families and Early Literacy
Two webinars were held over the past two weeks, both with great information for Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions. The links to these webinars are on the Collaboratives/Coalitions page on the Great Start Network site under “webinars” on the left hand side. Please check these out if you were not able to participate live. Both contain information that directly applies to parent engagement and early literacy efforts.

Also, check out this link to the Michigan eLibrary.

August Statewide Gathering
On August 8 in Mt Pleasant, there will be an all-day statewide gathering for Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition staff. It will be held at Courtyard Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University.Rooms can be booked here at the discounted rate of $105. This rate is good until July 13.

As in previous years, this meeting will provide opportunity to learn and connect with peers as well as dialogue with staff from the Office of Great Start and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation about the fiscal year 2018 32p application and training and technical assistance. At this point in planning, we anticipate offering two rounds of workshops in the morning, with statewide information being discussed in the afternoon. Registration for the meeting will be open starting May 8.

We are seeking proposals for workshops for the morning peer-to-peer workshop sessions. There are many great things happening across the state and we hope to feature as many as possible within the six, 1.5 hour, workshop slots. We strongly encourage your team to submit a proposal for one of these slots and collaborative proposals across GSCs/GSPCs are welcomed! Once proposals are received, we may also link GSCs/GSPCs together based on common topic areas. Workshop proposals are due no later than May 19. Please find the proposal form and suggested topics here and contact us through the Great Start Helpline with questions!

2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book Release
Last week, the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book was officially released, examining 15 indicators of child well-being to see how children are doing around the state.  While there have been improvements in several areas since 2008/2009, Michigan has consistently ranked in the bottom half of states in the national Kids Count rankings, and there are significant disparities in outcomes by race, ethnicity, place and income (the 2017 Kids Count National Data Book will be released in mid-June).

Did you know that you can share the data easily with your networks by accessing the Kids Count Data Center at, selecting the data that you are interested in and then clicking on the “Share” button in the upper right hand side of the screen where you can access Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

As a reminder, the data found in the Great Start Data Set (available on the GSN site) provides even more data about children and their families in Michigan and the new data set for 2017 will be available in the fall. If you need any support in interpreting or using this data, please contact the Helpline or the Michigan League for Public Policy – we are happy to help you!

Parents Partnering for Change
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation in partnership with the Parent Leadership in State Government Initiative is pleased to offer the Parents Partnering for Change Leadership Training, offered specifically for Great Start Parent Liaisons.

This training is a two-day commitment, June 27-28, 2017, and will be held in Shepherd, Michigan. The schedule for day one is from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. and day two begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m.

This training supports the Investment Corporation’s efforts to increase the ability of Parent Liaisons to engage and support parents as they bring a customer perspective to the Great Start Collaboratives’ work, resulting in more impactful and informed decision making. Topics covered during this training include: increasing leadership skills, effective meeting strategies, how to successfully handle conflict, explore diversity and cultural assumptions, understanding and respecting the values of others, building rapport, and working with different communication styles.

Because we have a maximum of 25 participants, registration for this training is offered first to newly hired Parent Liaisons and they have already been emailed and invited. As a reminder, the deadline for Liaisons to register is April 14. Register using the link here.

After April 14, we will be able to first open this registration to GSC parents, then GSPC parent leaders, and we will communicate how many openings are available. If you currently have eligible parents who are interested in coming to this training, please have them “save the date”. Please contact Michele Chenier with any questions.


32p Mid-Year Report Program Codes
It’s that time of year again. Mid-Year Reports for 32p are due April 30, 2017. A recorded webinar to assist in the completion of the report is available here.

Question: In MSDS there is a new program code, what is this new program code for?

Answer: The new program code in MSDS, program code 19, is ONLY for reporting children being served with Section 32p(4) funding.  Children being served with Section 32p EC Programming funds will still be entered using program code 18. If you have questions regarding your MSDS reporting please contact Rachel Mellema at

Trusted Advisors Application
The Trusted Advisors Grant Application was released on March 30 to all Great Start Parent Coalitions. The Office of Great Start also shared a recorded webinar to provide an overview of the application and grant review process. Applications are due May 5 and must be submitted via MEGS+. If you have any questions as you prepare your application, please contact Desiree Hughes at or the ECIC TA staff.

Desiree Hughes held three “Trusted Advisors Grant Office Hours” sessions to answer questions, allow sharing of ideas, and offer support throughout this process. Using the questions asked a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document was created and the following are links to the two webinars that were held. We hope that these resources are helpful as you finalize your proposals!

Strengthening Families Train the Trainer Opportunity
The Office of Great Start is pleased to announce the opening of the pre-registration for the Strengthening Families Training of the Trainer*.  Spaces are limited. All pre-registrants will be notified of approval for final registration. Pre-registration will be open until April 28, 2017 and can be completed hereDates: May 31, June 1, and June 2, Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Strengthening Families Training of the Trainer: Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work

This is a dynamic and interactive training with the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds. You must attend all 3 days, all day, to become a certified trainer.

North Central Michigan College
1515 Howard St., Petoskey, MI 49770
Student Center Cafeteria (Iron Horse Café)
Conference Center 3 & 4

*contract approval is pending


Infant Mortality Resources
ECIC staff have been meeting with staff from the Department of Health and Human Service – Maternal and Child Health Division to learn more about resources available in support of Outcome 1 – Children Born Healthy. The first resources we’d like to share relate to infant mortality. Please see future bulletins for webinars and additional resources in support of your efforts.

  • Communities of Practice Webinars provide opportunities for communities to work together in a process of collective learning and continuous improvement to improve birth outcomes. These webinars provide a forum for discussion about best practices and community efforts for each goal in the Infant Mortality Reduction Plan.

Next Webinar: Tuesday, April 25 from 1-2 p.m. (EST)

Focused on Goal 4: Support Increasing the Number of Infants who are Born Healthy and Continue to Thrive

Topic: Cradle Kalamazoo – Strategic planning efforts, outcomes, challenges, solutions


    • Dr. Cathy Kothari – Director of Community Research, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine
    • Grace Lubwama, DPPD – CEO, YWCA of Kalamazoo

Please see the login instructions below to access WebEx and join the webinar! Click here to register.

For dialing-in only:

  1. Dial one of the numbers listed below
  2. When prompted, enter the meeting access code: 9192610#


Partnering with Local Libraries and Museums
Libraries and museums reach millions of children each year and are among our communities’ most trusted learning institutions, providing a place for children, parents, caregivers, and other adults to play and learn. They are intended to create shared experiences and communication between children, parents and other caring adults. While they are available to all children and families, libraries and museums often only reach a fraction of their community.

By creating intentional relationships and working more closely together, museums, libraries and the early childhood community can offer children and families a wide range of formal and informal learning opportunities. Together, they can extend existing strategies and create new ones. And, by joining forces, they can help address inequities and reach those children and families that don’t typically have access to the developmental and learning experiences they need to thrive.

Learn how to build partnerships with libraries with Build’s Toolkit: Building Supportive Communities with Libraries, Museums and Early Childhood Systems.

Regional Early Childhood Conference: Call for Workshop Proposals
Child Connect for Family Success in partnership with the Livingston Great Start Collaborative are holding a regional early childhood conference on November 11, 2017 in Howell, Michigan. The 2017 Conference Planning Committee invites the submission of workshop proposals that will contribute to the healthy development and quality caring of children birth through 14 years of age. The full day conference will be developed through the offering of workshops, regarding ten specific areas relating to Early Childhood. Morning and Afternoon Keynote Sessions by Richard Cohen, M.A.

The workshop content areas are: Advocacy; Child Care; Child Development; Early Childhood Administration & Business; Infant/Toddler; Preschool; Medical/Health/Safety; Parent Education; Prevention; and School-Age programming. The link to the proposal form is here.

New Early Learning Resources

  • The Center for American Progress reviews critical problems with preschool suspension.
  • The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment and the Economic Policy Institute published a new report “What does good child care reform look like?” that assesses the barriers to providing affordable, high-quality early child care and education and how to assess potential solutions.


Changing Systems and Practice to Improve Outcomes for Young Fathers, Their Children and Their Families
Research shows that the relationship between fathers and their children is essential to the well-being of families and the healthy development of children. However little attention is paid to the importance of engaging young fathers under age 26, particularly young fathers who are involved with child welfare systems. This report provides recommendations on how systems can better focus on father involvement to increase positive outcomes for fathers, their children and families. Policy recommendations are offered on father-inclusive organizational culture, father identification, father-focused practice, co-parenting, undocumented father, incarcerated fathers, and more. A companion video, featuring three fathers, is available here.


The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released a new brief assessing the well-being of young children who experience homelessness.

Food Insecurity
A recent child development study finds that food insecurity in early childhood affects school readiness in kindergarten and that the earlier a child experiences food insecurity the less ready for kindergarten they are.


Building and Engaging Collaborative Relationships with Families 
Achieve OnDemandTM is opening up enrollment now for a new self-paced training titled “Building Engaging and Collaborative Relationships with Families.” Topics covered include the stages of the home visitor-family relationship; the characteristics and benefits of a shared learning environment; the impact of relationships on each other and much more.