Great Start Communications Bulletin (6.19.2017)


MI-CHAP Webinar
Staff from the Michigan Children’s Health Access Program (MI-CHAP) held a webinar for Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions on June 15. The webinar provided an overview of MI-CHAP, information about the nine sites around the state as well as the Virtual CHAP service within 2-1-1 to provide services to those who don’t have a local CHAP in their area.

For those who were not able to participate live, the PowerPoint and webinar recording are now available.

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.

The Office of Great Start is requiring all Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition staff to attend this meeting and Early Childhood contacts are also welcome. Registration for the convening is now open. Please register by July 14th through this link.

Orientation Training
Our next in-person Orientation training will be held on Wednesday, July 19 in Jackson and registration is open. Networking and sign in will begin at 8:30 a.m., the training will start promptly at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Great Start Orientation sessions are available for new Collaborative Directors and Parent Liaisons, and offer a comprehensive overview of the Great Start Initiative, system building, the purpose of the Great Start Collaboratives and Coalitions, an introduction to important documents and requirements, key roles, objectives and partnerships, resources available through training and technical assistance, and time to interact with other Great Start staff and Consultants and meet Rachel Mellema from the Office of Great Start. 100% of past participants say they would recommend this training to others and that they were glad that they attended as a team. This will be the final offering of Orientation this fiscal year.

2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book Released
Last week, the 2017 KIDS Count Data book was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the latest available data show some bright spots for Michigan’s children, especially in health outcomes. The rate of children without health insurance is down to 3%, lower than the national average of 5%. This major achievement is because of strategic investments in programs, like Medicaid and CHIP. The passage of the Affordable Care Act extended coverage to many who would not have been insured, including parents. When parents have health insurance, their children are also more likely to be insured.

However, Michigan was given the following national rankings (out of 50 states): 31st in economic well-being; 41st in education; 29th in family and community; and 17th in health. Overall, Michigan ranked 32nd in child well-being in the 2017 Data Book, finishing behind all other Great Lakes states: Minnesota (4th), Wisconsin (12th), Illinois (19th), Ohio (24th) and Indiana (28th) and Michigan worsened in three of four education measures. Fifty-four percent of children, ages 3-4, are not in preschool, 71% of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading and 71% of eighth-graders are not proficient in math.  To view all of the findings, click here.


Michigan’s RTT-ELC Has a Great Third Year
Michigan had an exciting year in 2016 on its “Race to the Top.” In the past year, the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Great Start and its Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) partners have made great strides towards the goal of improving access to high quality early learning and development programs statewide. For more details, view the Year 3 Highlights here!

Good Food, Great Kids Policy Research Report
Good nutrition and good educational outcomes for young children are inextricably linked. Yet, there is little consistency in terms of the quality of the food that is offered in early care settings. Given that approximately 60 percent of US children under the age of six spend time in some sort of childcare (or non-parental care) setting on a weekly basis, and typically eat breakfast and lunch (and possibly an afternoon snack) at these sites, ensuring the quality of the food is essential.

The Good Food, Great Kids policy overview and case studies, developed in partnership with the National Farm to School Network and the BUILD Initiative, is intended both to share a broad spectrum of existing information about various experiences in building farm-to-ECE supportive policies and to point out how forging greater connections between current policies and the work of farm to ECE can benefit early childcare centers, children, and families.

Read the policy research report here . Check out the case studies here.


MDHHS Invites Public Comment on Title V Block Grant Application
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services invites the public to comment on the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant application. The funding for Title V of the Social Security Act of 1935, as amended, supports states in improving the health of mothers and children.

Per federal requirements, a five-year needs assessment was completed in 2015. A summary of the assessment is included in the application. Based on the assessment, Michigan has identified seven priority areas to improve the health of mothers and children for fiscal years (FY) 2016-2020:

  • Reduce barriers, improve access, and increase the availability of health services for all populations.
  • Support coordination and linkage across the perinatal to pediatric continuum of care.
  • Invest in prevention and early intervention strategies, such as screening.
  • Increase family and provider support and education for children with special health care needs.
  • Increase access to and utilization of evidence-based oral health practices and services.
  • Foster safer homes, schools, and environments with a focus on prevention.
  • Promote social and emotional well-being through the provision of behavioral health services.

These priorities are linked to eight national performance measures and five state performance measures across six population domains: women/maternal health, perinatal/infant health, child health, adolescent health, children with special health care needs, and cross-cutting/life course.

Michigan’s Title V application is for services from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, and also includes a report on activities and services provided in FY 2016. The Title V draft application and annual report are available online.

MDHHS welcomes comments on the application, which must be received by 5 p.m. on June 22, 2017, and can be submitted to

Webinar: Supporting Young Children in Families Experiencing Substance Abuse
On Thursday, June 29, 3-4 p.m., E, Jackie Newson, Director of the West Virginia Home Visitation Program at Project LAUNCH, will discuss the problem of parental substance abuse and its impacts on children. Ms. Newson advocates using a strengths-based approach to supporting children in families experiencing substance abuse. She will describe several of the strategies West Virginia is using to respond to this growing addiction problem.  Register here.

Post-Partum Depression: Screening and Treatment Could Help Mothers, Children, and Entire Families
Suicide is a more common cause of U.S. maternal mortality than hemorrhage, eclampsia, or embolisms, yet unlike those conditions, there is no screening guideline in place for postpartum depression. In a new post on the Trend Lines Blog, Andra Wilkinson, Fadumo M. Abdi, and Ann Schindler explain the value of expanded screening and treatment for this condition, which afflicts an estimated 19 percent of all new mothers and a staggering 38 percent of low-income women of color. They note the success of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting programs, currently used in about 30 percent of counties, in identifying postpartum depression in low-income women and referring them to treatment.

New Report: Medicaid in Small Towns and Rural America
Medicaid is a vital source of health coverage nationwide, but the program’s role is even more pronounced in small towns and rural areas. Medicaid covers a larger share of non-elderly adults and children in rural and small-town areas than in metropolitan areas; this trend is strongest among children. Demographic factors have an impact on this relationship: rural areas tend to have lower household incomes, lower rates of workforce participation, and higher rates of disability- all factors associated with Medicaid eligibility. In addition, the role of Medicaid has increased in the past few years both in small towns and rural areas and in metropolitan areas, given the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more aggressive efforts to enroll children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Because Medicaid plays such a large role in small towns and rural areas, any changes to the program are more likely to affect the children and families living in small towns and rural communities. Read more in a new report from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families and UNC on Medicaid’s role in rural areas for kids and adults.


Webinar: Father Engagement is Everybody’s Business!
On Thursday, July 13 from 3-4 ET, David A. Jones, LMSW, Senior Program Specialist and Federal Project Officer with the Office of Head Start, will discuss how the Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework leads to positive and enduring change for children and families. This PDG webinar will enable participants to be more deliberate about engaging fathers and building strong partnerships with families to promote children’s learning and development and strengthen the parent-child relationship. Register here.


Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool: Programs and Practices that Work
An important component of early school readiness and healthy child development is meeting a child’s social-emotional needs in preschool. Preschool social-emotional skills include being able to get along and cooperate with others, manage strong feelings, focus attention, and persist at challenging tasks. These skills deserve focused attention during the preschool years because they are critical for long-term school and life success. Read more in this recent study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.