With the help of a five-year $4M federal grant awarded last August, CCFH and its grant partners are working to create a comprehensive system to support young children’s social-emotional development by improving identification of their developmental needs and increasing access to evidence-based interventions. Midway through year one, here’s how the READY Project is building a foundation to improve the lives of Durham’s youngest residents.
Increasing Evidence-Based Services
The READY Project is expanding several evidence-based services in Durham, including Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up. ABC is a brief intervention that supports healthy development and strong parent-child relationships by helping caregivers nurture and respond sensitively to their infants and toddlers. The READY Project has enabled providers at CCFH, Exchange Family Center, and Families Moving Forward – which serves families experiencing homelessness – to immediately increase their capacity to provide this evidence-based service to Durham families. Twenty more ABC Parent Coaches will be trained over the next several years as part of this project.
“Caregivers often love ABC because it helps them see what they are already doing well to support their child’s growth and learning,” says Dina Gerber, LCSW, an ABC Parent Coach at CCFH.
Spreading Trauma-Informed Practices
Training Durham’s child-serving professionals to identify and respond to childhood trauma is an important part of the READY Project, and the CCFH faculty is uniquely equipped to do just that.
In January, 25 local providers learned Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) with CCFH’s Dr. Robin Gurwitch. Using skills from evidence-based parenting programs, CARE is a trauma-informed way for any adult to interact with any child or teen. That same month, 13 advanced early childhood practitioners came to CCFH for a two-day training on DC:0-5, a developmentally-sensitive classification system created by ZERO TO THREE for diagnosing mental health and developmental disorders in infants and toddlers. With this training, they are better equipped to identify and address young children’s behavioral concerns. And in early March, 45 child- and family-serving professionals from around Durham took part in a free workshop on Secondary Traumatic Stress (pictured above).
In addition to trainings led by CCFH faculty, grant partners – including Exchange Family Center, Child Care Services Association, and Duke Children’s Primary Care – are also planning and conducting a variety of professional development activities in support of the READY Project’s goals.
Building Lasting Connections
The READY Project aims to increase collaboration and coordination within Durham’s early childhood system of care. Through the formation of a Young Child Wellness Council, the READY Project has created a forum for families of young children and the Durham agencies and committees who serve them to share their experience and expertise. At its first meeting in February, three parent representatives and 19 community partners came together to begin building relationships with one another and learning why their voice is vital to READY Project efforts.