ECPAC Staff Dedicated to Project LAUNCH efforts:

Rachel Hubbard / 303-428-3012 / rachel@ecpac.org

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Useful Documents:

Overview of Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) –

Funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Early Childhood Partnership of Adams County (ECPAC)

Background (Federally): Project LAUNCH started in 2008 (5 year grant cycles) because research showed a need for greater resources to promote mental health and prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders in the early years of life. Recent compelling research documents the detrimental consequences of toxic stress on early brain development; the lifelong health consequences of adverse early life experiences; and the effectiveness of prevention programs in reducing rates of emotional and behavioral disorders that, untreated, can lead to poor school performance, involvement with the juvenile justice system, teen pregnancy, and substance abuse. Project LAUNCH seeks to prevent these consequences and promote the overall well-being of all children.

Project LAUNCH has the following objectives through promoting a holistic perspective, foster an ecological framework, and employ a public health approach:

  • Improve coordination and collaboration across the systems that serve young children and their families
  • Provide greater access to high-quality care and evidence-based programs for young children and their families
  • Raise awareness and increase knowledge about young child wellness through public education and workforce development activities

Grantees to use their data to (a) identify subpopulations (i.e., racial, ethnic, sexual/gender minority groups) vulnerable to health disparities, and (b) implement strategies to decrease the differences in access, service use, and outcomes for those subpopulations.

Project LAUNCH involves (a) infrastructure improvements to create a more coordinated and collaborative early childhood system, and (b) direct services that increase the quality and availability of evidence-based prevention and wellness promotion programs and practices within communities.

Direct Services must include:

  • Screening and assessments in a range of child-serving settings. Project LAUNCH promotes the use of comprehensive screening and assessment in a wide range of settings. The goal is to increase the use of validated screening instruments (with a particular emphasis on social and emotional functioning) to ensure that developmental and behavioral issues or concerns are identified and addressed early and help increase the likelihood that assessments lead to successful referrals through knowledge of community resources and improving the linkages between providers across disciplines. Locally: This work will build of off current Health Integration efforts and provided needed resources to ensure the success of screening, referral, and follow through – including the use of Care Navigators embedded into health clinics, the mental health center, and early intervention/Child Find.
  • Integration of behavioral health into primary care settings. The goal of this strategy is to increase the likelihood that issues related to young child wellness (particularly social, emotional and behavioral issues) can be identified and appropriately addressed within the primary care setting. This goal can be achieved through increasing knowledge, changing practices and integrating mental health and family support professionals within the primary care setting, as well as improving linkages and ongoing communication between primary care and other providers in the community. Locally: This work will work with Community based Integrated Behavioral Healthcare Providers to increase their capacity to serve young children and women with pregnancy/ postpartum depression using evidenced based integrated care practices.
  • Mental health consultation in early care and education. The goal of this strategy is to ensure that child care and educational settings provide optimal learning environments for young children, and that foster the development of social, emotional and behavioral skills. Mental health consultants conduct a wide range of activities, including training staff, building staff capacities to create optimal learning environments that lead to positive development across all domains,, observing children in child care or classrooms when social and emotional and/or behavioral concerns are identified, supporting teachers, parents, and other providers in using strategies to promote children’s positive behavioral changes, and referring children or families for further assessment or therapy to deal with behavioral health or developmental issues. Locally: This work will expand the current project that places Community Reach Mental Health Consultants into local childcare and preschool programs – with priority given to those serving low income or at risk children. Additionally program staff will benefit from the Pyramid model training and follow up implementation support.
  • Enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being. Activities include training for home visitors on a wide variety of behavioral health issues (e.g. attachment, perinatal depression, toxic stress, trauma, and substance abuse); helping home visiting programs to expand screening protocols to include social/emotional, depression and substance abuse screening; mental health consultation to home visiting programs to help home visitors be better equipped to work with a range of complex families, which may include reflective group supervision, group or individual case consultation, and/or brief intervention and linkages to community-based treatment. Locally: This work will enhance current efforts to increase referrals to home visitation programs by offering mental health consultation to home visitation teams/staff as well as the ability to support sessions in addressing child and parental mental health needs and facilitated referrals to the mental health center.
  • Family strengthening and parent skills training. Project LAUNCH grantees can help improve outcomes for young children by helping their parents and other family members to provide healthy, safe, and secure family environments in which to learn and grow. Locally: This work will expand ECPAC partners capacity to offer parenting classes, groups, and other educational opportunities focused on promoting social-emotional development, improving family leadership and engagement, and supporting successful transitions to kindergarten.

The thread that connects all five strategies is an underlying goal of infusing greater understanding of social and emotional development—and best practices in promoting healthy development—in all of the systems that touch young children and their families. The five strategies are intended to both increase access to preventive care and to raise the quality of prevention and promotion services available to children and families in LAUNCH communities.  This is accomplished through efforts towards:

  1. A sustainable, accessible and integrated early childhood system exists that supports the five core LAUNCH strategies
  2. Professional and provider competencies are aligned across systems and implemented with fidelity to ensure consistent and sustainable high quality early childhood services
  3. Support state and local agency efforts to integrate culturally relevant practices into policies, programs, and decision-making processes that are effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful to families and responsive to their preferred languages, health literacy level, and communication needs
  4. Approached used by programs and providers are family-centered, family-directed, and well-researched.

 Recording of March 13,2015 Webinar: Results of Environmental Scan:

Please note the recording started on slide #2 (Welcome slide is missing):