By Susan Barbeau
First 5 FUNdamentals Executive Director
Before bringing together almost a dozen agencies that serve families in Pierce County, we knew only what we didn’t know. How many families were being served by home visiting programs? How old are the children who are receiving visits? Which families are enrolled in the programs?
In order to identify opportunities to share information and collaborate across home visiting programs, we would need these answers and more. So we kicked off a series of meetings to bring together home visiting providers in the county. (To start, we’re defining a home visiting provider as an organization or agency that offers services where families receive in-home supports from trained professionals.)
At the first meeting in April, we discussed:
- The age and number of those served
- Types of evidence-based practices and curricula that are being used
- Program eligibility
- Key partners
- How to close gaps in services
This first convening had a wonderful turnout with representatives from 11 different agencies serving 4,500 families throughout Pierce County and beyond. About half of their programs are designed to serve families with children birth to age 3. The program enrollees include military families, Medicaid recipients, drug/alcohol exposed infants, expecting mothers and many more.
Future meetings will go beyond information-sharing to discuss in further depth where gaps exist, what we can do about it, and how to eliminate duplication of efforts. The participants said that these conversations are important to have, because they did not know how many other agencies were offering home visiting services in the county, and this was a unique networking opportunity to build relationships with other providers.
Interested in joining the conversation?
The next meeting is 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 31 at the Boys and Girls Club Topping Center (3875 S. 66th St., Tacoma). To RSVP or join the group’s mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.