Bridgeport Prospers Bright Spots Newsletter, April 2018

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Every Child Succeeds, Cradle to Career

 

Here’s an update on recent “Bright Spots” in our journey to ensure the success of every Bridgeport child: 

Growing Awareness of Toxic Stress:   “Resilience” Documentary Impact

 
Researchers have recently discovered a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood. As the new documentary Resilience” reveals, TOXIC STRESS can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death.

“Resilience,” however, also heralds the birth of a movement that is determined to fight back. Pediatricians, educators, and therapists are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to disrupt the cycles of violence, addiction, and disease.

Bridgeport Prospers screened this documentary for 120 community partners in December.  Our goal was to boost awareness of “The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope” in order to increase trauma screenings and trauma-informed practice in all community sectors (healthcare, education, community service, faith).

Our community partners are continuing the conversation.  Currently, thirteen partners have approved agreements and licenses to screen the documentary for their own constituents.  Audiences range from childcare providers, to health or community service staff, to college/high school students.  Many screenings are scheduled during April and May, several during the Week of the Young Child (April 16-20). 

Meanwhile, national awareness of the effects of childhood trauma is also growing.  Recently, Oprah Winfrey’s segment on 60 Minutes highlighted the need for trauma-informed care as a “game changer.”  Winfrey notes that efforts to help children and families are working on “the wrong thing….You must first fix the hole in the soul…  When we see a kid misbehaving, the question we should be asking is not “What’s wrong with that child,” but rather ‘What happened to that child?’”

For a summary of the “Resilience” documentary and an understanding of how stress affects a child’s health, click here

For a complete list of BP partners and planned “Resilience” screenings, click here.  

For Oprah’s segment on 60 Minutes, click here.            
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New Partnerships to Advance Our Common Goals

Building partnerships with community stakeholders is vital to improving outcomes for Bridgeport children.  Happily, we have 2 new partners who have joined forces with us:  the City of Bridgeport Heath Department and Bridgeport Hospital.

The City of Bridgeport Health Department has signed a formal agreement to share data about resident health, most recently providing statistics on babies born in the city and their moms.  Director Maritza Bond will also serve on our Core Leadership Team.  Both parties have also agreed to support each other’s health outcome goals in their individual strategic plans.

Bridgeport Hospital and Bridgeport Prospers are joining forces to advance infant health and maternal mental health.  Bridgeport Hospital CEO Bill Jennings is a key member of our Core Leadership Team. Currently, we are working with the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation and President Steve Jakab to seek funding for initiatives in this area.  Our efforts will also be supported by the technical expertise of the Institute for Child Success (ICS).

Also, Bridgeport Prospers Executive Director Allison Logan has been invited to serve on the newly-formed Public Health Advisory Committee of the Bridgeport Department of Health & Social Services (BDHSS).  The committee’s purpose is three-fold:  (1) identify public health priorities based community health assessments; (2) guide the implementation of programs/practices/policies that are evidence-based to improve health outcomes; (3) increase service coordination among partners. 

These partnerships show Collective Impact at work!                    

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Bridgeport Basics Launched

To help ensure Bridgeport children are Healthy and Ready by Three, we have launched the Bridgeport Basics.

The Bridgeport Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life.  They’re important because about 80% of a child’s brain growth happens by age 3.  Experts agree that these 5 principles cover much of what’s important for this age group for early brain development and long-term learning.

The 5 Basics are:  maximize love & manage stress;  talk, sing, and point;  count, group, and compare;   explore through movement and play;  and read and discuss stories.

The Basics may seem simple, but they have serious credentials.  They stem from the Boston Basics: evidence-based parenting principles developed by the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University.  Their lead creator, Professor Ron Ferguson, has studied achievement gaps based on race and socioeconomic status and found that the gaps are already stark by the time children turn 2 years old.  Ferguson and his partners are hopeful that teaching caregivers the Basics can help close those achievement gaps.

Currently, Bridgeport Prospers is developing plans to roll out the Basics to the community with the help of partners such as pediatricians, schools, health centers, childcare providers, churches and home visiting staff.   Stay tuned.  

To view videos and booklets describing these principles, click here.

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Bridgeport Chosen as One of Three Pilot Sites for NIC Data Sharing Project

DSS Commissioner Rod Bremby has named Bridgeport as the pilot site for a data-sharing project sponsored by the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC) and funded by the Kresge Foundation. 

The NIC Initiative will increase collaboration and data-sharing across all domains that impact education, health, and safety.  It will create a community of networks that will use the latest technology and data, optimize existing resources, and share tools and best practices in order to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable communities.

The NIC was created by the Stewards of Change Institute (SOCI) and AcademyHealth, and funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Kresge Foundation.  Other current partners include the California Health and Human Services Agency, the Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust (SVRDT), and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HMSSS). 

The NIC seeks to make different data systems interoperable, which means that systems in different organizations can share and interpret each other’s data. As SOCI President Daniel Stein explains, “So much knowledge and so many tools exist to deliver fare better care than we’re currently doing.  But most systems still operate in solos, so we’re not learning from each other or optimizing…existing resources. “  

To help prepare for the project launch, Bridgeport Prospers Executive Director Allison Logan attended the recent NIC Symposium in Sacramento, CA on March 26-27, 2018.

For more info on the NIC, click here.

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Bridgeport Prospers “Bright Spots” Presented in National HRSA Webinar

Bridgeport Prospers work was highlighted in a recent national webinar hosted by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the US Dept. of Health & Human Services.   The webinar was part of the Virtual Grand Rounds series for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau

The presentation was delivered by Allison Logan and Janice Gruendel, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Institute for Child Success.  The team highlighted “Bright Spots” in our efforts to ensure that all Bridgeport babies are “Healthy and Ready by Three,” that is, that they reach expected health and developmental benchmarks. 

These highlights ranged from parent education and support (“Bridgeport Basics”), to universal home visiting and developmental screening, to data-sharing agreements with government and community partners (NIC).

In response to the presentation, Dr. David Willis, Director of the Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems at HRSA, stated, “Your vision is an inspiration to all of us. The ability to articulate with clarity the voice of families and community at the center and bring it back to policymakers is really essential at this time.”

The webinar audience included Home Visiting staff, staff from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and colleagues from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

Creating a high profile for Bridgeport Prospers can help advance our initiatives through partner collaboration and funding.

To view the presentation, click here.

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YOU can be a Bright Spot for Bridgeport children:  Read a Book to Preschoolers on April 18th!

 Please join 100 volunteers on April 18th in our annual city-wide Read Aloud to preschoolers.  It’s a great chance to share a book and a laugh, while helping children build literacy skills.  Readings will be at 9:30 & 10 am.

This year’s book is Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Williams.  Every classroom will keep the copy to enjoy again and again. 

The effort is part of the Week of the Young Child, a yearly event hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  The event celebrates early learning, young children, teachers, and families.

To register, click here.   

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Bridgeport Prospers is a collective impact initiative.  That means we:

  • Work collaboratively with diverse community partners and stakeholders.
  • Share data to gain a common understanding of a problem, and establish a vision for solving it.
  • Use facts to make decisions and adjust course, investing in what works.

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Questions or comments:  Email us at gcarroll@unitedwaycfc.org or call 203-339-6321.

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