BUILDing Support Structures for Children and Families in DC
Over the last several weeks, NPR has been publishing a series of pieces related to child care, spotlighting topics such as provider compensation and the cost of quality programs. In one of their featured articles, NPR spoke with Susan Hibbard, director of the BUILD Initiative. Whether you knew it or not, DC (along with 9 other states) is a member of this initiative. I also recently attended the BUILD Initiative National Conference in San Diego – so, I feel as though it’s an opportune time to share how this initiative has become an important part of the work that’s going on in DC and here at DC Action.
The BUILD Initiative collaborates with early childhood professionals, state agencies and advocates to ensure that children (and their families) have access to specifically tailored quality services and programs that will help them thrive as they grow into young adults. Though this work may sound similar to that of other programs and agencies, BUILD’s passion for meaningfully connecting systems is what makes it a stand-out initiative. Through such connections, children and their families are supported in a way that is fluid – where schools, healthcare facilities and family support programs are working together cohesively.
In a world where fragmented services operating in silos is the norm, we at DC Action are excited to be part of the QIN (Quality Improvement Network) as we work to restructure systems that serve our children. As the lead systems evaluator of QIN, DC Action has an important job. We are working to gather and synthesize insights from all District partners and agencies so that our leaders can objectively and effectively create and refine service systems for our children in a way that will benefit them the most.
We’re currently in the middle of conducting interviews with key providers and agencies in preparation for our 1-Year Evaluation report. Without sharing TOO much (you’ll have to wait for the final report, due in early Spring of 2017), it’s been inspiring to hear, despite challenges, how invested all of the QIN partners are in achieving equity of access and opportunity for all DC children. As with all “new” structures and systems, growing pains exist – but it’s a breath of fresh air to hear how those on the frontlines are effectively advocating to give a voice to those who are too often overlooked. It’s even MORE exciting to speak with district agency leaders and hear their adamant commitment to expansion and improvement of the early child care system as they openly recognize how much more needs to be accomplished for DC children! I’m excited that DC Action is involved in this work and I feel strongly that major changes happening now in child care, health and family well-being services will become very evident over the next several years – so keep your eyes peeled!
Photo credit: BUILD Initiative
Link to our QIN Mid-Year Report