Family-strengthening professionals strive to support all members of a family. The reality, though, is that supports offered are often targeted to and resonate more with mothers and other female-identifying caregivers. That’s why the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families invited speakers to share what life during the pandemic has been like from the perspective of fathers and other male-identifying caregivers at October's Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 conversation.
Denver Indian Center and Colorado Department of Human Services have each received an award for the FIRE Fatherhood Grant program from the United States Department of Human Services. Office of Early Childhood presented on the grant received by Colorado Department of Human Services, sharing that it will fund seven sites across Colorado to work toward the goal of strengthening fathers’ well-being and preventing child maltreatment through wrap-around services and supports. Their grant will focus on healthy marriage, responsible parenting, and economic stability. Any father with a child under the age of 24 will be eligible to participate, with a focus on certain groups, such as male caregivers living in poverty with newborns, military and veteran fathers, unemployed fathers, and fathers re-entering after incarceration. If you would like to learn more about the grant received by Colorado Department of Human services, please see the presentation slides or reach out to Aaron Miller. If you would like to learn more about the grant received by Denver Indian Center, please contact Thomas G. Allen, Jr.
Cameron Lundstrom, Parent Advocate at the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel and founder of A Nap & A Sandwich, discussed his role representing parents involved in the child welfare system and sharing his own experiences with other parents to help them address challenges and make their own decisions through peer support coaching. Cameron shared that providing this critical support of fathers in a nearly all-virtual way during the pandemic has been challenging, but he has been able to adapt.
Adam Combs and Adrian Nuñez shared their experience starting a Circle of Fathers group amidst the pandemic. They decided to start a Circle of Fathers group with the goal of providing a space for fathers to support each other and to show them that it is okay to make mistakes and ask for help. They planned to host the group in-person and offer child care and dinner, but COVID-19 had other plans. As is the case with so many things this year, they had to adapt to instead hosting the groups virtually. While not ideal, a participant in the group shared that the group has helped him tremendously in feeling like he is not alone and in being able to share and hear valuable ideas on how to deal with certain challenges.
A key takeaway from the perspectives that each of these speakers shared was that fathers and other male caregivers need supports and spaces that are specifically intended and designed for them.
Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families would love to have more male-identifying caregiver perspectives represented in the Full Partnership and in each of its Work Groups. If you know a male caregiver who might be interested in participating in the Partnership in a family voice role, please have them fill out the Family Voice Representative Interest Form. If you have questions about family voice in the Partnership, please reach out to Hattie Landry.
Surveys and focus groups conducted with Colorado families demonstrated that Colorado parents were already struggling with social connectedness and asking for support even before COVID-19 impacted Colorado, and it is likely that this reality has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. With this in mind, this month’s Keeping Families Strong COVID-19 conversation focused on building social connections. Illuminate Colorado highlighted Colorado COnnected, designed to give Coloradans the inspiration, knowledge and tools to strengthen social connection among parents.
Katie Facchinello, communications director for Illuminate Colorado shared that "Colorado has been examining social norms associated with safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children for many years. Asking questions about actual and perceived values, beliefs and behaviors associated with the prevention of child maltreatment and looking to close the gap between reality and misperception across different levels of community systems. While 50% of Colorado parents think other parents ask for help with parenting, the reality is that only one in five parents in Colorado reported asking for help with parenting and one in five said they have no one to turn to for day to day emotional support with raising children. These results have raised red flags dating back to 2016, long before the pandemic impacted Coloradans’ lives in so many ways. "
Town hall participants received a preview of the now LIVE Colorado COnnected blog which will highlight ways organizations and individuals are using the Colorado COnnected tools and building social connections right now.
"Creating social connection between community members these days requires getting connected online and offline carefully. According to community organizations in Colorado that have successfully brought community members together prior to the onset of the pandemic, individuals are generally more responsive to in-person invitations to events and programs. However, the need to physically distance and adhere to public health orders while still fostering social connections among parents requires innovation, creativity and a public will to prioritize keeping families strong right now" continued Facchinello.
Stephanie Henderson, director of child and family health and well-being for Early Childhood Partnership of Adams County (ECPAC) also shared how they have adapted their own efforts to foster social connections among parents during COVID-19 by hosting weekly virtual parent groups in English and in Spanish as well as a weekly Circle of Parents in Recovery group. Additionally, ECPAC is currently engaging in a campaign to shift social norms in their community around asking for help and reaching out to connect. Beth Crist, youth & family services consultant for the Colorado State Library also shared the many ways in which libraries are uniquely poised to and traditionally foster social connections between and provide support for families, sparking examples from other libraries in attendance about ways they have adapted their programming during the pandemic. Jefferson County Public Library started a Work From Home Facebook group and will be hosting a virtual booth at the Help Kids Thrive Conference and an outdoor StoryWalk®. Poudre River Public Library District is piloting a public office hours program to support caregivers with their children’s education and hosting activities for all ages, such as Brain Breaks and ‘Art-ober’.
Please find detailed notes from this month’s conversation here.
If you would like to get more involved in the Partnership work groups or continue to learn about building social connections and Colorado COnnected subscribe or update your content preferences and don't forget to REGISTER HERE to join us for the next Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19 conversation on Tuesday, October 27th from 3:00 - 4:00 pm!
9/9/2020 0 Comments
Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families Reimagines the Village
DENVER, CO (September 9, 2020) Colorado is one of four states chosen by the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse America® to participate in a national effort to prove it is possible to fundamentally rethink child welfare by creating the conditions for strong, thriving families where children are free from harm.
This first-of-its-kind effort — Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being (Thriving Families)— will work across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to assist jurisdictions in developing more just and equitable systems that benefit all children and families and break harmful intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty.
The Thriving Families effort will include diverse community stakeholders — most importantly families with lived expertise — to help them discern and develop the supports, resources, services and approaches to meet the unique needs of their families and promote the conditions to help them thrive.
“Families are our greatest asset in ensuring that all children are safe and have what they need to thrive and succeed — especially now, during the coronavirus crisis,” said Dr. Melissa T. Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “This extraordinary moment provides an opportunity to shift the narrative from child welfare to child well-being. We must leverage this new way of thinking to develop and deliver effective and impactful community-based resources that assist families in ways which strengthen and help keep them together.”
Colorado will join teams from Nebraska, South Carolina and California/LA County in this multiyear commitment by receiving intensive technical support and resources from national partners to realize the creation of more just, equitable and humane child and family well-being systems.
Colorado’s team began forming in 2019 and work is underway through an improvement collaborative known as the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families (the Colorado Partnership). Partners are approaching this work differently than other states, as a county-administered human services system, by embracing local and creative solutions to prevent abuse or neglect of children before it ever occurs. Colorado’s approach uses the socio-ecological model stressing a shared responsibility within local and state systems, well-beyond child welfare, including, but not limited to, public health, economic development and health care systems.
“The Colorado Partnership is placing an emphasis on empowering families to be a part of this transformative work. Nothing about us without us. Together, we are focused on ensuring that every community in Colorado is creating the conditions where children are healthy, valued and thriving,” said Heather Hicks, a parent of two young children and one of many parents and caregivers involved in the leadership and workgroups of the Colorado Partnership.
The Colorado Partnership is focusing on three key priority areas:
“It does take a village to raise a child. Child maltreatment prevention happens when friends, family, neighbors, government agencies, health care providers, community organizations, associations and employers strengthen families. This pandemic is shining a light on how challenging it is to parent children and everyone needs to ask themselves how they can help parents weather life’s challenges right now,” said Jade Woodard executive director of Illuminate Colorado (Illuminate), a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment.
Illuminate is the backbone of the Colorado Partnership and the home of the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America®. “With support from national partners, Colorado will have an opportunity to serve as a national model for reimagining a more just and equitable village to effectively prevent child maltreatment, identifying how we can all wrap around families in the process,” continued Woodard.
The Colorado Partnership is growing every day and includes more than 150 members and supporters from organizations representing multiple state and county government agencies, Colorado Children’s Trust Fund & Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission, Colorado Human Services Directors Association and Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, research and evaluation partners, nonprofit agencies, philanthropic partners, as well as parents and caregivers.
Learn more about the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families by visiting COPartnershipForThrivingFamilies.org
Illuminate Colorado Communications Director
Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families knows that building Protective Factors is the key to keeping families strong. It is no secret that COVID-19 has presented challenges to building and maintaining strong families. In particular, the physical distancing necessary for keeping ourselves and our communities as safe as possible during the pandemic poses a unique challenge for creating and fostering the social connections that are imperative to strong families.
It is inspiring to see these and other examples of how those who work to strengthen families are adapting and finding ways to foster social connections between families amidst a situation that makes doing so inherently challenging. Building from some of these ideas and with the goal of supporting others with creating similar opportunities in their communities, the CPTF Calling All Families Work Group is working to develop a list of ideas and tools for hosting these types of activities as well as guides to support families with fostering their own social connections outside of these structured events.
If you’d like to be involved in the CPTF Calling All Families Work Group, please reach out to Cassie Davis. Have your own ideas or examples of ways to safely foster social connections between families during this time? Share them in the comments below!
P.S. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage with hundreds of family support professionals from across Colorado during the free, virtual Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference being hosted September 28-30, 2020. This conference is a joint collaboration across the family support continuum, from prevention and public health, through restoration and child welfare. The final day will highlight the work of Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families.
7/30/2020 2 Comments
Family-strengthening professionals from across Colorado came together earlier this week for the seventh in an ongoing series of conversations intended to provide a space to discuss successes and challenges, share resources, and collaborate to problem-solve ongoing and evolving challenges of supporting families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family Tree shared the ways that they have adapted their programs that serve children and youth, support families experiencing homelessness, and support and advocate for families impacted by domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, they shared how their SafeCare program, which provides in-home care and education to parents with children 5 and under, has adapted to dropping off resources to families and then conducting their home visits and education related to safety, health, and parent-child interactions virtually.
They also raised questions that are on all of our minds:
From virtual parent groups, to drive-thru resource distribution for families, and creative ideas for prioritizing self-care for employees, those who joined the call shared a wealth of ideas and resources on how to address these important questions.
To find a detailed record of the information and resources shared by Family Tree and other attendees, see the notes from the conversation or visit the FAQ to find a running list of resources to help strengthen families right now.
We will be taking a summer break from these conversations in August and will resume them in September. If you would like to ensure that you receive the email update in August and information on the next conversation in September, please be sure to subscribe HERE. If you are interested in sharing how your organization is adapting your support of families during COVID-19 at one of these conversations, please reach out to Cassie Davis.
Next Conversation on Keeping Prenatal to One Families Strong during COVID-19
Tuesday, September 22nd
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Please join us for September's conversation by REGISTERING HERE.
The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families has an exciting and important update about our governance structure. It takes all of us to work collaboratively across the State of Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued, and thriving. To our members who have gotten us to this point--Thank you to all for your continued commitment to the vision of the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families. As our efforts move from planning to action, the leadership of the Partnership wanted to share key shifts in our structure to better support the future work:
Thank you all for your commitment to this work, and we look forward to continuing to work with you all to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued, and thriving!
Leadership Team Membership:
Breanna Hernandez, Family Voice Representative
Daniel Makelky, Douglas County Human Services
Fikile Ryder, Family Voice Representative
Gina Robinson, Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
Heather Hicks, Family Voice Representative
Joseph Homlar, Colorado Department of Human Services-Division of Child Welfare
Jade Woodard, Illuminate Colorado
Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health
Kendra Dunn, Colorado Department of Human Services-Office of Early Childhood
Mary Berg, Jefferson County Human Department of Services
Melissa Palay, Jefferson County Public Health
Sarah Grazier, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Susan Caskey, Boulder County Housing and Human Services
Tracy Anselmo, Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials
Colorado professionals who serve prenatal to one families convened this week to continue the conversation on supporting families during the time of COVID-19.
Bright by Text shared information on their free text messaging service, which offers tailored information on child development, local support services, and community events to families prenatal to eight. Registered families receive two to four messages per week--in English or in Spanish-- with a link to a landing page, where they can dive deeper into the message’s topic. By providing their child’s date of birth and their zip code at registration, families receive developmental information tailored to their child’s age and information on support services and community events happening in their local area.
During COVID-19, Bright by Text has adapted their messaging to include information on things like access to food, distribution of diapers and other baby supplies, and virtual activities hosted by public libraries. Bright by Text also allows organizations to leverage its platform to send information about events and resources to families.
Find more information and see examples of messages sent by Bright by Text here.
Download this PDF to learn more.
Reach out to Tara Stingley ,if you are interested in using Bright by Text to promote resources to your community.
Help families sign up for this invaluable service by encouraging them to text ‘GREATCHILDHOODS’ to 274448 or fill out this web enrollment form,
The group was also joined by Raise Colorado, who shared that COVID-19 led them to switch gears from focusing on prenatal to three policy advocacy to providing mini grants to direct service organizations in order to support the immediate needs of families brought on and heightened by the pandemic. They also shared the ongoing approach they have taken since their inception to translate their commitment to anti-racism into action and offered tools such as this resource on The Four I’s of Oppression and this tool for creating an Equity Rationale to empower others to do the same.
To find a detailed record of the information and resources shared by Bright by Text, Raise Colorado, and other attendees, see the notes from the conversation.
If you are interested in sharing how your organization is adapting your support of families during COVID-19 at one of these conversations, please reach out to Cassie Davis.
Keeping Prenatal to One Families Strong during COVID-19
Tuesday, July 28th
Please join us for next month’s conversation by REGISTERING HERE.
Over the last several months, Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families has hosted a series of conversations on Keeping Families Strong during COVID-19. Hundreds of family-strengthening professionals from across the state of Colorado have come together to share resources and innovations and work together to problem-solve the ongoing challenges of adapting their support of families to the ever-evolving context and needs that have arisen due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Thus far, the conversations have been broad, including discussion on families at all stages. For the upcoming conversation on June 23rd, the focus will shift to hone in on the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families’ focus of families prenatal to one.
In alignment with this shift, the Partnership is excited to welcome Tara Stingley, Program Associate at Bright by Text, who will share information about the work they do to support families prenatal to one and how they have adapted this support amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bright by Text program provides research-based information on child development – plus information about local events and resources – to Colorado parents and caregivers of children prenatal to age 8 in both English and Spanish.
Join the conversation to hear more from Tara about the service as well as how families can sign up for it!
Discuss your Ideas and Experiences Translating Anti-racism into Action.
Additionally, the Partnership knows that risk and protective factors for family well-being are not randomly distributed among families and communities. They are closely linked to the uneven distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges that have been created and continue to be fostered by historical and systemic racism. Thus, it is imperative to continuously examine how implicit bias and explicit discrimination continue to shape the current systems and services and engage in continuous course-correction with an anti-racism and anti-discrimination focus. For the upcoming conversation on June 23rd, please be prepared to discuss your ideas and experiences with translating your commitment to anti-racism into action.
Keeping Prenatal to One Families Strong During COVID-19
Tuesday, June 23rd
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Don’t Miss the Opportunity to:
The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families is seeking family voice representatives, including parents and caregivers, to serve in leadership roles!
Family representatives will be expected to attend one weekly hour-long virtual meeting and contribute up to an additional two hours per week of time. Compensation for your time and expertise will be provided.
Email Hattie Landry at email@example.com,
if you or anyone you know is interested in learning more!
REPRESENTANTES DE VOZ FAMILIAR NECESITAN
Se espera que los representantes de la familia asistan a una reunión virtual semanal de una hora y contribuyan con hasta dos horas adicionales por semana.
Se proporcionará una compensación por su tiempo y experiencia. Envíe un correo electrónico a Hattie Landry a firstname.lastname@example.org, si usted o alguien que conoce está interesado en aprender más.
The Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families works collaboratively across the State of Colorado to create the conditions for strong families and communities where children are healthy, valued and thriving.