The health and prosperity of our families, communities, and nation require an investment in the physical and emotional health of our young children. The Alabama Partnership for Children was chosen in 2014 to partner with the Alabama Departments of Mental Health and Public Health, and with Child Development Resources of The University of Alabama, as part of the Sixth Cohort of Project LAUNCH.
Nationwide, grantees are pioneering new ways to promote young child wellness through Project LAUNCH, a federal initiative funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The population of focus is children ages birth to 8. The goal is for all children to enter school with the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills they need to succeed.
Over 5 years, Project LAUNCH communities increase the quality and availability of evidence-based programs for children and families, improve collaboration among child-serving organizations, and integrate physical and behavioral health services and supports. Lessons learned from communities guide systems’ changes and policy improvements at the state, territorial, and tribal levels, such as implementing universal screening efforts and integrated data systems. Strong partnerships lead to the sustainability and replication of successful practices on a large scale and to systems improvements lasting beyond the life of the grant.
Alabama Project LAUNCH Objectives:
- Increase access to screening, assessment, and referral to appropriate services for young children and families
- Expand use of culturally relevant, evidence-based prevention, and wellness promotion practices in a range of child-serving settings
- Increase integration of behavioral health into primary care settings
- Improve coordination and collaboration across disciplines at the local, state, territorial, tribal, and federal levels
- Increase workforce knowledge of children’s social and emotional development and skills to respond to behavioral health challenges of young children and families
Project LAUNCH grantees are guided by Young Child Wellness Councils, which bring families and public-private partners together to improve policies, programs, and approaches to using data and funds effectively. Each Project LAUNCH community implements a core set of five prevention and promotion strategies drawn from current research. In addition to providing direct services, Project LAUNCH communities increase knowledge about healthy child development through public education campaigns and cross-disciplinary workforce development.
A cornerstone of Project LAUNCH is the federal-level partnership between Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Administration for Children and Families, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Click here to view the national Project LAUNCH Briefing Sheet.
Tuscaloosa was chosen to be the first local implementation site for Alabama Project LAUNCH.
Contact Project LAUNCH
Please visit http://www.healthysafechildren.org/grantee/project-launch for additional information.
For more information on Alabama Project LAUNCH at the state level, contact Sarah Ellen Thompson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-866-711-4025.
For information about Alabama Project LAUNCH locally, contact Caroline Branton by email at email@example.com or by phone at 205-348-0459.
Project LAUNCH’s Five Prevention and Promotion Strategies:
Project LAUNCH is committed to increasing the use of validated developmental and behavioral screening of infants and young children — in a range of child-serving settings — to promote early identification of risk factors, and to build on child and family strengths. In addition to developmental and social-emotional screening for children, Project LAUNCH is focused on supporting the family well-being as a whole. These efforts may include screening to identify parental depression or stress, substance abuse, and domestic violence. Screening can be conducted in primary-care, early care and education, school, and community settings.
A pediatrician or family physician is often the first person with whom a parent shares concerns or asks questions related to mental health. Early detection of developmental, social-emotional, and behavioral issues, and the provision of appropriate supports are critical to children’s success in school and in life.
Mental health consultation (MHC) in early care and education (ECE) settings involves the use of a mental health professional in ECE programs to promote children’s growth and learning, with a particular focus on social and emotional development. The consultant can focus at the individual child and family levels, as well as build the capacity of ECE staff and programs to promote children’s positive social and emotional growth, and to respond to their mental health needs. Mental health consultants can screen children for developmental or behavioral concerns, train program staff, provide support for effective teaching and caregiving practices, and help link families to appropriate services.
Offering services in a natural setting, home visiting programs serve children and families — particularly first-time parents — by addressing issues around maternal and child health, child development, parenting strategies, and links to needed community services. However, the effectiveness of home visiting programs can be hindered by the often significant mental health issues, trauma, or partner violence prevalent among the families these programs serve. By integrating mental health supports into home visiting programs, Project LAUNCH is helping to maximize the impact of this evidence-based approach to supporting the well-being of children and families.
Family strengthening and parent skills training are intended to support families in developing healthy environments for their children, to enhance parenting strategies, to promote positive interactions between parents and children, and to help family members navigate social service systems. When families feel supported and respected, and have access to effective resources and supports, they are better equipped to care for their children and meet their needs.
Alabama Project LAUNCH Resources:
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For more information on Alabama Project LAUNCH at the state level, contact Sarah-Ellen Thompson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-866-711-4025.
For information about Alabama Project LAUNCH in Tuscaloosa, contact Caroline Branton by email at email@example.com or by phone at 205-348-0459.