The Alabama Project LAUNCH Young Child Wellness Council (YCWC) recently took another step towards improving early childhood mental health and wellbeing in West Alabama. Out of 140 communities nationwide, the Tuscaloosa YCWC was selected to receive funding and support from the NOW Learning Community out of Boston. A diverse group of local stakeholders came together on Tuesday, August 28, to develop a consensus for cross system collaboration in order to support and strengthen the continuum of services for maternal and child wellbeing.
Members of the Council will attend four convening NOW events to work with other grant awardees across the country. The group expects to bring back specific action plans.
NOW builds on Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Vital Village Network approach to: promote child wellbeing; align systems of care and education in early childhood; and improve neighborhood opportunity structures that promote optimal wellbeing and reduce inequities in child health and education.
“Our Tuscaloosa community of partners, including Stephanie Covarubbia with Early Intervention of CSP, and Trendle Samuel with ADPH to name a few, work hard to address gaps and inequities in children’s health and wellbeing. We are honored to be among those selected nationwide to participate in NOW and receive additional support for our ongoing work,” says Dr. April Kendrick, UA’s Director of Child Development Resources.
The NOW Learning Community will support participants in building a robust set of tools to transform early childhood education and health systems in their neighborhood, city, or county. Each recipient will receive in-depth and tailored technical assistance in mobilizing community leaders; using data and storytelling tools; and communicating with diverse stakeholders.
“Creating a connected community around child health and wellbeing is a goal of the Young Child Wellness Council. We are excited to participate in the NOW Learning Community because breaking down silos in our community will only help all of Tuscaloosa County to support its children and families,” says Amy Crosby, Alabama Project LAUNCH Young Child Wellness Coordinator.
Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Vital Village Network is working with communities across the country to promote child health and opportunity. Through a $2.2M grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Vital Village selected local organizations to form the Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW) Learning Community. The Young Child Wellness Council, housed within the College of Human Environmental Sciences, was one of ten communities chosen to address barriers and develop innovative partnerships aimed at improving the early childhood experience.