The New 3 R's - United Way of Western Connecticut by jcjmhkitraxxz

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									                                    Welcome!
A community consists of the people who live there and the various assets that support them:
education, employment, recreation, health, municipal services, family/individual supports, and
religion. The future of a community lies in its children. When children’s early experiences are
loving, supportive and stimulating, they enter school ready to take advantage of educational
opportunities and are more likely to experience continued school success and future life success
as well.

Danbury embarked on a multi-year journey to explore what can be done to improve the
community’s future through a focus on children’s early years. This strategic planning process,
which focuses on Danbury children aged birth through eight, is entitled the 3Rs: Ready children
and families, Ready communities, and Ready schools. Our result statement is:

                       All Danbury children aged birth through eight
                   are healthy and ready for school and lifelong learning.

The planning process, which included participation from over fifty individuals, embraced these
guiding principles:

         Families and communities raise children.
         All families need information about early childhood development.
         Some families need information and support to ensure that their children reach
         appropriate developmental milestones.
         Learning begins at birth.
         All children should have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors
         that enable them to be successful in the early years of schooling.
         Parents should be partners with the school system and with community providers in the
         development of their children’s education, health and social emotional wellness.
         Our community respects individual differences and recognizes the importance of cultural
         responsiveness and appreciation for those with special needs.




                          This document provides an opportunity to share our
                          current results with our funders and the community.


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     1
History of Danbury’s Early Childhood Strategic Planning
The work of the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative was preceded by other local and state
efforts:

•   In 1998, the state of Connecticut enacted the School Readiness legislation providing
    subsidized quality preschool programming in priority school districts such as Danbury.
    During the first year of the School Readiness grant, 110 preschool children were served.
    During the 2008-2009 grant year, 375 children were served. It should be noted that there has
    been no increase in administrative funds for the School Readiness grant since it began.

•   In 2005, Governor Rell created the Early Childhood Education Cabinet whose charge is to
    “identify a set of agenda items designed to promote the development of all of the state’s
    young children.” The Cabinet worked on this task for over a year and put forth their
    recommendations in a document titled Ready by 5 and Fine by 9: Connecticut’s Early
    Childhood Investment Framework.

•   In 2006, the United Way of Western Connecticut facilitated a listening forum where local
    residents were given an opportunity to hear about the state’s Ready by 5 and Fine by 9 plan
    and begin to voice suggestions for work that should occur on a local level.

•   Finally, in the fall of 2007, the Danbury community applied for a grant to do strategic
    planning around the issues of early childhood development and school readiness. This grant
    was awarded from a public/private collaboration between the State of Connecticut’s Early
    Childhood Education Cabinet and the William C. Graustein Memorial Fund. It provided
    Danbury with a part-time Early Childhood Community Planner to convene multiple
    community stakeholders and facilitate the development of a strategic plan. Twenty-three
    other communities in the state received this planning grant and are writing local early
    childhood plans.

              o The plan uses a Results Based Accountability (RBA) model, posing the
                questions:
                    What do we want to see for our community? (our result statement)
                    How will we know if we’ve gotten there? (measurable indicators)
                    What will we need to do to get there? (effective strategies)
              o RBA asks communities to use data to make decisions and guide their work.

    A significant amount of training and technical assistance was provided to all communities
    through the Charter Oak Group, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and Interaction
    Associates, as well as staff and liaisons from the funders.

•   In addition, the strategic planning efforts were supported by a Discovery grant from the
    William C. Graustein Memorial Fund. Known as the Parent Resource Initiative, this grant is
    being managed by Danbury Children First, Inc. The purpose is to “create a plan that would
    improve family access to community services and supports needed to raise successful
    children.” The Parent Resource Initiative conducted a Community Conversation on The


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                    2
    Quality of Life for Young Children and Their Families in the fall of 2008. In addition, they
    surveyed approximately 500 families (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) to gain further
    information about parent needs and perceptions. This information was used in our early
    childhood strategic planning process.

Initial partners of the Danbury 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative included:
    • City of Danbury
    • Danbury Children First
    • Danbury Public Schools
    •    EDUCATION CONNECTION
    •    United Way of Western Connecticut


The plan was created by a diverse group of individuals who either live or work in Danbury.
Aside from the one part-time paid position of Early Childhood Community Planner, all efforts
came from those volunteering their time, energies, and input. In order to be reflective of the
whole community, efforts were made to engage individuals from as many sectors of the
community as possible.

Work was carried out on three different levels:
  • Focus Area Teams - analyzed specific strategy areas
  • Steering Committee - organized the work and helped to ensure continuity from one area
      to another
  • Leadership Group - provided feedback and will help to secure resources

The Leadership Group has been expanded since June 2009, and is now the 3Rs Early
Childhood Collaborative, a unified single body, and now has decision-making power.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                    3
Why Are We Doing Strategic Planning For
Danbury’s Youngest Children?
It is important to recognize the reasons why Danbury embarked on this journey of early
childhood strategic planning. Brain research and economic policy analysis tell us:

     •   significant and lasting foundations are created in children during their earliest years
     •   investments early in a child’s life are more effective than waiting and attempting to
         compensate for a poor early start.


Quality Early Learning REDUCES:                “In Connecticut, only 50% of infants or
   • Crime Rates                              toddlers with disabilities or developmental
   • Teenage Pregnancy                        delays who receive appropriate early
   • Welfare Dependency                       intervention    services     need    special
   • Job Training Costs                       education at kindergarten. Since the per-
   • Special Education Costs                  pupil cost of special education is twice the
   • Grade Repetition                         cost of regular education, the savings can
                                              total as much as $255,000,000 per year
Quality Early Learning INCREASES:             statewide.” (Department of Developmental
   • Success in School                        Services).
   • Graduation Rates
   • Workforce Readiness
   • Job Productivity
   • Community Engagement
                                              Source: Connecticut Department of Social
Source: United Way of America –               Services report titled First Words, First
 Born Learning Campaign                       Steps: The Importance of the Early Years

“The basic principles of neuroscience tell    “Children can thrive at home with a parent,
us that providing the right conditions for    relative or caregiver. Children can also
healthy development in early childhood is     thrive in family child care, center based
likely to be more effective than treating     care, and school readiness settings. The
problems at a later age.”                     important thing is that young children need
                                              to be in safe, nurturing, stimulating settings
                                              where they can thrive and learn.”

Source: Center on the Developing Child at     Source: PlayBook for Prevention: Early
Harvard University                            Care and Education – Connecticut
                                              Commission on Children




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     4
While the Danbury community has numerous assets and many children are doing well, consider
the following:

    •    38.8% of Danbury children were at goal for reading on the 3rd grade Connecticut
         Mastery Test (CMT) in 2007-2008
    •    52.9% of Danbury children were at goal for writing on the 3rd grade CMT in 2007-2008
    •    53.8% of Danbury children were at goal for mathematics on the 3rd grade CMT in 2007-
         2008

These numbers are significantly below the state averages. It is an illustration of what is
commonly called the “achievement gap.” Children from communities with lower socio-
economic status do not perform as well as students from more wealthy communities. This trend
is seen not only in Connecticut but around the country as well. It emphasizes the importance of
looking at the earliest years of a child’s life and providing the necessary assets to make success a
reality.

CMT scores are only one piece of information to analyze. Consider these other statistics for
Danbury:

    •    33.4% of Danbury school children were eligible for free or reduced priced meals
         (meaning their family was at 185% or less on the federal poverty guidelines) (2007-2008)
    •     Ninety-eight child abuse/neglect reports were substantiated for children age eight and
         under (2005)
    •    11% of mothers received non-adequate prenatal care (2005)
    •    Approximately 35% of preschool children aged four did not attend preschool (2007-
         2008)

Research shows us that poverty, child abuse, and inadequate health care negatively impact
children’s growth, development, and school success. Meanwhile, quality preschool is known to
have a positive impact on young children’s development.

If the future of a community lies in its children, Danbury must do more to meet the needs of
its youngest children. The 3Rs outlines a plan (or framework) for the whole community.
Families, community providers, and schools are all in this together.

                  • Ready children and families
                  • Ready communities
                  • Ready school
                             Ready Children and Families
Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                        5
All children in Danbury have the physical, social, emotional, language, and cognitive skills to
start kindergarten. All families are informed about their child’s development, the importance of
early learning, and are supported to become their child’s first and primary teacher.




While there are many assets in Danbury that support children’s growth and development, no
asset is more important than the family. From birth and even earlier, parents help to build a
nurturing, supportive environment where young children can thrive. They lay the groundwork
for moral development and learning values. They engage in everyday experiences like talking,
reading, listening, and sharing and thus build a foundation for other learning experiences. They
understand what to expect at different ages for their children and know where to find resources
when those developmental milestones aren’t being reached. They understand how to guide their
children’s behavior and recognize the importance of meeting their own adult needs in order to
parent effectively.
While many Danbury parents are creating a positive foundation for their young children, some
parents need more support from the community.
Consider the following:
   • 64% of all families with children under age six have all parents working (2000)
   • 8.3% (or 485) of children under age six are living in families with income below the
      federal poverty line (2000)
   • 24.3% of all births are to mothers who have not completed high school (2005)
   • 34.6% of Danbury individuals are living in families where the primary language is not
      English (2000)
There are a significant number of parents who may need additional supports to create nurturing,
supportive home environments that encourage children’s growth and development. Actions and
efforts need to be focused on prevention. Prevention is proven to be more effective, both in the
positive outcomes for children and in the financial resources that are required.
The Danbury community is diverse: ethnically, racially, and socio-economically. Diversity is an
asset from which we can all benefit. Danbury Public Schools calls it “the mosaic that makes us
special.” In our work, we must be cognizant of the need for cultural and linguistic competency
in the delivery of services so that all families have what is needed to effectively raise their
children.

                                      Ready Communities

Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                    6
All children have access to high quality programs that positively influence their health,
development, and school readiness.




While parents and families are the primary circle of influence in the lives of young children, they
are most effective when community resources are in place to support their efforts. Needed
community resources include early childhood programs (such as preschool and child care),
health providers (including oral health providers), and behavioral health services. When those
supports exist in adequate numbers and are high quality, children and families benefit. For
example, parents are able to work and maintain their economic security when they can find
quality child care that is affordable and accessible. In addition, children’s preparedness for
kindergarten is increased when their early care setting (whether a preschool, child care center,
family child care home, or a relative babysitter) is of high quality and incorporates learning in a
developmentally appropriate manner. Children are healthier and avoid poor health habits when
they see a consistent doctor on a regular basis for well-child care. And finally, children are
better able to cope with stress and be resilient when there are the appropriate behavioral health
services to assist them.

While many high quality community services exist in Danbury (some of which are accessible to
families of low income), consider the following:

    •    The average cost of child care in Danbury for an infant/toddler in a center is $250.10 per
         week and $203.53 per week in a licensed family child care home. ( 2-1-1 Child Care,
         2009)
    •    The maximum child care subsidy for full-time infant/toddler care in a center in the
         Danbury area is $199.00 per week through the Care 4 Kids program if a family qualifies.
         (2008)
    •    The “living wage” for 1 adult and 1 child in Danbury would be $20.50 per hour. This
         reflects the actual cost of living in our community which is significantly higher than a
         minimum wage job. (2008)
    •    42.8% of preschool age child care spaces are accredited or meet Head Start Performance
         Standards (2003)
    •    11% of mothers in Danbury received non-adequate prenatal care (2005)
    •    7.6% of all Danbury births are low birthweight (under 5 lbs 10 oz) (2005)
    •    In 2006, 4,683 children under age 19 received HUSKY A (Medicaid health insurance)

Many families need support affording child care and many child care spaces may need support to
increase their quality. A significant number of our children start their lives without the health
foundation that is needed for optimal success.


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       7
During the past few years, Danbury has experienced many changes:
   • A second new federally funded health center opened in January 2010.
   • The Community Health Center, Inc. (a new federally qualified health center) opened in
       the summer of 2008. They have a psychologist on staff part time and a psychiatrist will
       be joining the team soon.
   • The Samaritan Center opened to provide medical care to children without health
       insurance. While it is not open full time at present, it offers care to those with the least
       resources.
   • The Early Childhood Consultation Partnership now has a staff person to work solely
       within the Danbury community. This person is housed at Catholic Charities.
   • The AmeriCares Free Clinic relocated to a nicer facility and increased its hours.
   • A third School Based Health Center was opened at Rogers Park Middle School during the
       summer of 2008.
   • Care Coordination for families whose children have behavioral health needs (managed by
       WellPath) now has one coordinator that is multi-lingual.
   • The State Department of Education implemented two new quality enhancement programs
       for early childhood centers: Training Wheels and Recognition and Response.
   • The State Department of Social Services has created a resource for parents and caregivers
       of infants and toddlers: Early Learning Guidelines. One training has already been
       conducted in Danbury.
   • The Danbury Public Schools received a $263,000 grant for a Parent Literacy Center.
   • Through collaborative efforts of the Danbury School Readiness Council, kindergarten
       registration rates increased dramatically.

While many changes have been positive, there have been losses as well:
  • The Happy Children Happy Families program did not receive federal refunding and
      stopped serving families in the fall of 2008. This behavioral health program used a home
      visiting model and predominantly served the Portuguese and Spanish speaking
      population.
  • School Readiness Quality Enhancement funds were decreased (from approximately
      $75,000 to $42,000).




                                             Ready Schools
Schools are active partners in creating a successful transition from the birth to five educational
experiences into the K-3 educational experiences.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       8
The first day of kindergarten is a rite of passage in our culture. Children begin their journey
learning how to read. Later it becomes a journey of reading to learn. When parents are
welcomed and embraced as partners in the learning process, children are more apt to succeed.
When children are given the individual support they need in the early years, including English
language learners, they are more likely to become successful readers, stay engaged in the
learning process, and graduate from high school. When teachers are knowledgeable about a
child’s previous developmental level and previous educational experience (or future
developmental levels and future educational experiences), children’s experiences are more
integrated and coherent. When the length of a school day is adequate to meet children’s learning
needs, children will be more successful.
While many Danbury children are performing well and reaching their full potential, consider the
following:

    •    24.3% of the students in Danbury K-6 schools are in bilingual education and English as a
         second language services (2006-2007)
    •    19% of all students in the district passed all four Physical Fitness tests (2007-2008)
This indicates that a sizeable number of students are not meeting expectations and are at risk for
future school difficulties. While many families have needs, Danbury’s immigrant population
may need additional supports to ensure school success.
Danbury Public Schools is identified as a district in need of improvement through the No Child
Left Behind legislation. During the past year, an independent group (Cambridge Education)
conducted an audit of instructional programs for the district. The plan for improvement is being
managed through The Danbury Enhancement Collaboration Committee (TDECC). The district
is working diligently to address areas in need of improvement and ensure that more and more
students reach, at a minimum, the “proficient” level on CMT testing. Recent success at Morris
Street School demonstrates how a dedicated administration and staff can turn the curve on a
school’s performance. Through tremendous efforts including outreach to families in the form of
parent meetings, phone calls, and one-on-one conversations, Morris Street School increased their
CMT scores significantly.


                 Framework for Action: an Overview



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                      9
We have taken a look at Danbury’s children and families, the community, and the schools. It is
evident: for the future wellness of the community, we need to do more to capitalize on the
potential of our youngest citizens. The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative proposes a strategic
plan that incorporates those three areas (children and families, community, schools) and makes
recommendations for moving forward.
It all begins with our result statement (what we want to see in our community):

            All Danbury children aged birth through eight
        are healthy and ready for school and lifelong learning.
In order for this vision to become a reality in our community, the 3Rs Early Childhood
Collaborative sets forth the following strategic areas and strategies:



                                             Strategic Areas:

    Health Awareness and                               Parenting that Supports Healthy
    Actions                                            Development and Early Learning
         •   Ensure that all families have access to     •   Increase home and personal visiting services
             information and resources on health,            for families with young children so they can
             behavioral health, and oral health              create a home environment that is safe,
             topics                                          nurturing, and promotes healthy development
                                                             and learning
         •   Increase local access to affordable
             health, behavioral health, and oral         •   Increase parents’ knowledge of developmental
             health services for the insured,                milestones, early literacy, socio-emotional
             underinsured, and uninsured                     development, health, and oral health
                                                         •   Increase public knowledge about the
         •   Ensure that the behavioral health               importance of the early years for learning and
             needs of Danbury’s young children               development through a public awareness
             and families are met                            campaign

         •   Prevent/reduce childhood obesity

    Readiness for School                               Early School Success
         •   Ensure all child care providers are         •   Ensure continuity of curriculum between preK
             high quality                                    and kindergarten
         •   Increase the supply of affordable child     •   Ensure that schools are “family friendly”
             care/preschool
                                                         •   Increase the number of full-day kindergarten
                                                             spaces

This multi-faceted approach engages the entire community around the result statement and
incorporates the guiding principles that were outlined earlier. Each strategic area is examined in
more detail in the following pages. As you read through, you will see that the plan calls for




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                                    10
action for the children and families, the community, and the schools. When all three of
those groups are “ready,” Danbury will be able to realize its result statement.

We have selected the following “headline” indicators to help us measure change/progress over
time. These indicators were selected for a number of different reasons:

    •    They represent a scope of the work that is tied to our result statement (health, parenting
         supports, readiness for school, early school success).
    •    They represent the various range of ages that our plan is addressing (birth through age 8).
    •    The data is already being collected and reported and therefore requires less additional
         resources than pieces of data that are not currently measured.
    •    Some are indicators used by many other communities and can offer a statewide
         perspective.
    •    The indicators are understandable to the general public.


% of children aged birth to 15 months that receive all well child visits

% of students who pass all four components of the CT Physical Fitness Assessment

% of children assessed as “ready” on the Kindergarten Entrance Inventory

% of third grade students at/above proficiency on the 3rd grade CMT (Connecticut
Mastery Test)


While these indicators may hold various limitations, they are considered to be the most
appropriate measures for our purpose at this point in time. They quickly help to paint a picture
of where Danbury is currently and can be examined at regular intervals in the future to show
comparisons and trends.

On the following pages, each strategic area is examined in detail:

    •    Headline indicators are reported
    •    Potential barriers to positive outcomes are analyzed
    •    Strategies to turn the curve are listed
    •    Additional data needs are presented
    •    Potential community partners for each strategic area are shown in Appendix D




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       11
Health Awareness and Actions
All Danbury children aged birth through eight are healthy and
ready for school and lifelong learning.
Health is a significant component of our strategic plan. Children’s optimal development and
learning are dependent on a solid foundation of good physical health, behavioral health, and oral
health.

Danbury faces health challenges because so many of our children (and parents) are uninsured or
underinsured. But the community is fortunate to have three health facilities that serve their needs.
The Community Health Center, Inc. of Danbury was opened in September of 2008 and provides
well child visits and immunizations, as well as sick and urgent care, for children on HUSKY and
uninsured children (on a sliding scale basis). The Samaritan Health Center located on Rose Street
in Danbury is aligned with Jericho Partnership, a faith-based initiative, and offers free,
comprehensive pediatric services for children from birth to 18. Additionally, a new $1.3 million
grant from the federal government is funding a new community health center for both adults and
children at the North Street offices of Dr. Uwe Koepke, a Danbury pediatrician.

While these programs serve many of the low-income and immigrant children in the community,
more outreach and community awareness is needed about their services. There is also still a great
need for behavioral health and oral health providers, especially multi-lingual providers.

While there are many factors that influence health in the broad way that we are defining it, the
3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative has selected the following two “headline indicators” to help
us measure progress in this area, as well as a third indicator on Personal/Social Skills:

     •   % of children aged birth to 15 months who receive all well child visits
     •   % of children performing at Level 3 in the Personal/Social Skills section of the
         Kindergarten Entrance Inventory
     •   % of students passing all four components of the CT Physical Fitness Assessment

These indicators were selected because this data is already being collected and reported, they
represent children at the beginning, middle, and end of our age range, and they incorporate both
physical and behavioral health information.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       12
What does the data for Danbury tell us?

% of children aged birth to 15 months who receive all well child visits




Well child visits are visits to the doctor, not because a child is ill and needs medical attention, but
instead are preventative in nature and help to ensure a child is growing and developing in a
healthy way. During a child’s first few years, when many vaccinations are given, well child
visits play an important role in ensuring good health; they also provide an opportunity to give
parents the information they need to keep their child healthy. When children are receiving the
appropriate number of well child visits, it is more likely that the child is connected to a “medical
home:” a consistent doctor/clinic that can get to know that child well and monitor any medical
issues that arise. The medical community actively encourages all children and individuals to
have a “medical home.”

The Story Behind the Well Child Statistics in Danbury

Lack of Insurance and a Lack of Continuity in Insurance. The data listed above shows that in
Danbury, a large percentage (over 80%) of young children are receiving all of their well-baby
visits. While this statistic is promising, a surprising 13.4% of children in Danbury under the age
of 18 are uninsured. This is higher than all other major cities in Connecticut, including
Bridgeport, Hartford, Waterbury, and New Britain. (Source: American Community Survey 2009,
as reported by Connecticut Voices for Children.) This may reflect the large number of
undocumented families in Danbury.

Children may also be uninsured because their parents are unaware of their children’s eligibility
for HUSKY. Or parents may have difficulty understanding and gathering the required documents
needed to apply for the program. As of January 1, 2010, 6,348 Danbury children under the age of
19 were enrolled in HUSKY A. However, a further look at data shows that for the year 2005,
only 22.9% of children aged birth to 15 months that were enrolled in HUSKY had continuous


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                          13
coverage during that 15 month period. With so many children experiencing interruptions in
coverage, the establishment of a medical home can be difficult.

Emergency Room Visits. Emergency room visits often indicate of a lack of insurance for both
parents and children. Danbury has a very high usage of emergency room visits when compared
with its surrounding suburban communities, with 26,885 outpatient emergency room visits per
year, representing 39.8% of the population. (Source: Danbury Community Report Card 2009) A
greater-than-average use of the emergency room for primary care indicates a greater population
of uninsured citizens and undocumented residents. Children whose parents are using the
emergency room for primary care are less likely to be visiting a pediatrician or accessing a
medical home for regular well-child visits.

How Do We Turn the Curve to Ensure that All Children Receive Well Child Visits?
Outreach and information to parents, provided in multiple languages, will help to increase the
number of parents accessing the health resources available to them. As mentioned above, there
are currently three clinics providing health services to uninsured and under-insured children in
Danbury. Danbury’s Community Health Center provides health and behavioral health services to
both adults and children, has some bi-lingual staff members, and offers some assistance in
applying for public health services. The new Samaritan Health Center also provides free health
care to children residing in the Danbury area who lack insurance, although they do encourage
that parents bring a translator if needed. By connecting parents with these clinics, uninsured and
low-income children may be more likely to receive well child visits.

         % Students Performing at Level 3 on the Personal/Social Skills section of the
                            Kindergarten Entrance Inventory




As the table above indicates, fewer than 1 in 4 children (23%) entering kindergarten in Danbury
have the personal and social skills needed to participate in kindergarten without additional
support. “A Framework for Child Health Services: Supporting the Healthy Development and
School Readiness of Connecticut’s Children” published by CHDI shows that social-emotional
factors can be as or more important than cognitive factors in determining a child’s readiness for
school. Children whose behavioral health needs are addressed at an early age will be ready to
participate productively in kindergarten. But the statistics for Danbury show that many of our
young children are not receiving the behavioral guidance they need.



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     14
The Story Behind the Behavioral Health Statistics in Danbury

Lack of Access and Affordability. Access to behavioral health services in Danbury reflects the
challenges that are faced by Connecticut as a whole. The Maternal Child Health Research Center
has indicated that in Connecticut, access to behavioral health providers is the worst for all
pediatric subspecialties, receiving a score of 5, or “not at all adequate.” (Source: “A Framework
for Child Health Services: Supporting the Healthy Development and School Readiness of
Connecticut’s Children”) Data collected in Danbury mirrors this access problem. Only 49% of
respondents to the 2009 Danbury Parent Survey felt that there were enough mental or behavioral
health services in Danbury that were affordable. Only 28% of middle income families (making
between $40,000 and $80,000 per year) and only 22% of parents of children with special needs,
felt behavioral health services were adequate and affordable.

Focus Groups conducted in Danbury on behavioral health indicated that parents of children with
mental/behavioral health issues need more help with health insurance, assistance in paying for
services and medication, and more flexible hours that will accommodate their work schedules.
They found that help could be limited and appointments times with doctors too short. They felt
that more qualified staff were needed at schools, at state agencies, and at local services.

Need for More Multilingual Providers and Translators. The Focus Groups also demonstrated
a need for more translation services and multicultural staff to serve families whose first language
isn’t English. These findings were strongly reinforced by research conducted by the Family
Focus Partnership of Danbury in 2007.

With more than 37.5% of Danbury’s students living in homes where English is not the primary
language, language barriers are without a doubt affecting the delivery of behavioral health
services in our community. Hispanic children in particular may suffer from access problems.
Nationwide, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, “children and youth of
Hispanic/Latino descent are less likely to receive services for their mental health problems than
any other racial group” and “language barriers further exacerbate access problems.”

How do we “turn the curve” so that Danbury’s children receive the behavioral health
services they need?
A greater number of Danbury-area behavioral health providers who speak languages other than
English are needed to ensure that children of Hispanic and other non-English speaking families
will have access to behavioral health services.

Parent education on how to identify and address behavioral health issues, and how to access
behavioral health services, especially for uninsured and underinsured children, will also facilitate
better access and utilization.

Partnering with early care and education providers and the schools on both behavioral health
delivery and parent education will demonstrate best practices in behavioral health care
coordination.



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       15
% Students Passing all four CT Physical Fitness Assessments




Danbury has seen a decline in the percentage of students who pass all four components of the
physical fitness test (26% in 2004-2005 down to 19% in 2007-2008) while the state results
remained fairly constant at about 35%. The fitness test looks at the following:
   • Sit-and-Reach
   • One-Mile Run/Walk
   • Push-Ups
   • Curl-Ups

The current data indicates that in a classroom of 20 children, fewer than four would
perform at a level to be considered “physically fit.” This baseline data does not represent what
would be considered acceptable for a community. The implication for future health issues is
enormous (and this in turn becomes an economic issue when we think about the costs of chronic
illness, health care needs, and time lost from employment).

The Story Behind the Physical Fitness Statistics in Danbury
Why are so few children in Danbury “physically fit?” The following factors may contribute to
the poor performance of our children on the physical fitness test:

Urban Environment/Lack of Safe Places to Play and Exercise. Qualitative information taken
from the 2009 Danbury Parent Survey indicated that many parents felt a strong need for more
safe outdoor play spaces for their children. Parents cited a need for more sidewalks and bike
paths so that children can safely walk and ride their bikes throughout the city. The need for
public swimming pools was also mentioned. Children who live in the more urban, downtown,
environments where it may be less safe to play outside may be most affected by an inability to
get unstructured outdoor exercise. (This may be particularly true of Hispanic children, 47.6% of
whom nationally live in central city households.) Children who cannot safely play outside in
their neighborhoods are of course more likely to spend more time indoors engaged in sedentary
activity and clocking more “screen time” than is healthy.


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   16
The Need for More Out-of-School Time Activities and Recreational Activities. The
qualitative information from the Danbury Parent Survey also showed that parents want more
activities that they can do with their children—and particularly more activities for younger
children. Parents of school-age children want more out-of-school time activities and recreational
activities, including activities for children with special needs. Again, Latino/Hispanic children
may be more affected by an inability to access recreational programs. The survey showed that
Hispanic children and children with special needs are not accessing activities and recreational
programs at the same rate as their peers. Only 28% of parents of Hispanic/Latino children said
their children are involved in sports activities, as compared to 34% of parents of all children.
Thirty-three percent of Hispanic/Latino parents reported that their children are in engaged in no
recreation activities, as compared to 20% of all children. In focus groups conducted on children’s
behavioral health in Danbury in December 2007, parents of children with mental/behavioral
issues indicated a need for more recreational and family activities—especially at times that
accommodate working parents’ schedules.

Childhood Obesity. The epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is well known and well
documented. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that between 16% and 33% of
American children and adolescents are obese, putting them as increased risk for heart disease,
high blood pressure, diabetes, and breathing problems. Because Danbury has a high Hispanic and
minority population, its children may be at greater risk. More than 30% of children in Danbury
schools are Hispanic; 10% are African American. Both of these groups have a higher prevalence
of childhood and adolescent obesity. In Connecticut, more than 35% of Hispanic and more than
30% of Non-Hispanic Black high school students are overweight or obese compared to less than
25% of White children. Nationwide, 24% percent of Mexican American children between the
ages of 6 and 11 are overweight, compared to 20% of Black children and 12% of White children.
(Source: National Council of La Raza.)

Poverty is also a well-known contributor to childhood obesity. Twenty-three percent of
Danbury’s children under the age of 18 live below 200% of the federal poverty level (Source: CT
Voices for Children), and 1079 of Danbury’s families are living below the Federal Poverty Level
(Source, U.S Census 2000). Families living in poverty tend to rely more heavily on inexpensive,
high-fat and high-calorie foods. With so many of our community’s children living in poverty,
poor nutrition is most likely a strong contributor to the obesity of our children.

How to we “turn the curve” so that Danbury’s children are more physically fit and of a
healthy weight?
Information gathered as part of the Parent Resource Initiative through Parent Surveys,
Community Engagement Interviews, and Focus Groups all pointed to a need for more
recreational activities for Danbury’s children. Parents and community leaders all felt that
preschoolers through school-age children needed more opportunities for both unstructured and
structured physical activities. Ensuring that play and sports activities are accessible, affordable,
and held at convenient times so that children of working parents can participate should improve
the fitness of all of Danbury’s children. An emphasis on providing opportunities to Hispanic and
minority children, as well as children with special needs, may have perhaps a more profound




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       17
impact, as these are the children who seem to have the most barriers to accessing recreational
activities.

Educating parents about the importance of exercise and proper nutrition for their children will
also help children become more physically fit. Parents need more information about what is a
healthy weight for their children and how to achieve fitness goals. The American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) is aligning with the new White House Obesity Initiative launched on February
9, 2010 in recommending that Body Mass Index (BMI) be calculated for every child at every
well-child visit and that information be provided to parents about how to help their child achieve
a healthy weight. The AAP is also recommending that prescriptions for healthy active living
(good nutrition and physical activity) are provided at every well-child visit. “A Framework for
Child Health Services; Supporting Healthy Development and School Readiness of Connecticut’s
Young Children” published by CHDI also indicates that early care and education programs and
family support service programs should be partners in providing outreach to parents on health
information (page 6). Providing preschool teachers and family support providers with
information about proper nutrition and preventing obesity will be an important component in
providing parents with the information they need to tackle their children’s
physical fitness challenges.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     18
Framework for Action in the Strategic Area of
Health Awareness and Actions:
The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative will address health action and awareness through
three strategies:

Strategy 1.

Ensure all families have access to information and resources on health, behavioral
                           health, and oral health topics

Sub-strategies

Encourage collaboration           Increase knowledge    Increase oral        Educate families on the top
and improved                      about health          health services      5-7 health, behavioral
networking/service                resources in the                           health, and oral health
coordination among                community and the                          topics and corresponding
providers in these                differentiation                            resources
disciplines                       between various
                                  resources
Actions

Create a provider                 Create a public       Increase             Create outreach worker
network that promotes             awareness             awareness of         positions (bilingual) that
case management best              campaign that         pediatricians of     connect families with
practices                         informs the           ways to              information through
                                  Danbury               incorporate oral     traditional channels (i.e.,
Provide ongoing                   community about       health information   Head Start) and non-
education to service              what health           into regular check   traditional channels (i.e.,
providers and faith based         resources exist       ups including the    faith based organizations,
organizations on the top          including whether     application of       housing authority, etc.)
5-7 health related topics         insurance is          fluoride varnish
(through existing                 accepted or what                           Translate information into
networks such as CARO-            type of payment is    Pursue efforts to    Spanish and Portuguese if
Community Agencies                required              bring mobile         it is not already available
Reaching Out, FFP-                                      dental services to
Family Focus                      Increase support to   early childhood      Use pediatricians as a
Partnership, etc.)                families about how    programs in          vehicle to disseminate
                                  to apply to the       Danbury in           information
Develop electronic                HUSKY program         coordination with
mechanism for local                                     such services
programs to share                                       provided in the
information on what                                     public schools
services they offer


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                            19
Strategy 2.

              Ensure that the behavioral health needs of Danbury’s
                     youngest children and families are met

Sub-strategies

Increase the number of               Increase awareness about      Increase the capacity of
behavioral health providers          maternal depression and its   behavioral health providers
including those that are             impact on young children’s    to understand the need for
bilingual and bicultural             development                   family intervention in
                                                                   servicing young children

Actions

Develop career awareness             Increase awareness of both    Create a behavioral health
program for bilingual,               ob/gyns and pediatricians     provider task force on this
bicultural students at the           on this topic through grand   issue
local High Schools                   rounds

Secure scholarship funds             Determine what is currently   Plan ongoing training on
for Bachelor of Social Work          offered in the community      this topic
(BSW) programs                       (seek information from the
                                     Women’s Health Center
Utilize medical “head                and the Family Birth
hunter” firms to assist with         Center)
filling staff vacancies that
meet criteria                        Research models of
                                     maternal depression
Advocate with funders for            screening in other
the need for bicultural,             communities
bilingual providers
                                     Develop a plan to replicate
                                     those effective models




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       20
Strategy 3.
                              Prevent/reduce childhood obesity

Sub-strategies

Increase opportunities for children          Educate families on obesity prevention
to be physically active

Actions

Enhance PAL(Police Athletics                 Educate families on the importance of reducing
League) playgroup with hands-on              screen time (TV, computer, video games)
education for families about
physical activities                          Include obesity prevention as a topic for the health
                                             outreach workers
Provide training to early childhood
providers of all types on the                Develop and use a “train the trainer” program on
importance of physical activity and          this topic for faith based organizations and housing
ways to include it in the children’s         authorities
day
                                             Calculate BMI information for all K, 1, and 2
Work with the Parks and Recreation           grade children and inform/educate parents of
department to increase offerings for         results
all ages and post on website



Other data would we collect, track, and analyze in the Health Awareness and Actions strategic
area if it were readily available and/or the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative had the capacity:

    •    % of ER visits for non-emergency care
    •    % of mental health clinicians in Danbury that are able to serve non-English speaking
         children and families
    •    % of children defined as overweight or obese by BMI criteria
    •    % of children tardy more than 5 times in the kindergarten year
    •    % of children absent more than 5 times in the kindergarten year




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                          21
   Parenting that Supports Healthy Development
   and Early Learning
   All Danbury children aged birth through eight are healthy and
   ready for school and lifelong learning.
   Population Result: Parents are connected with the supports and resources they need to raise
   children who are able to reach their potential in school.
   Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, nurturers, and role models. With
   loving, nurturing and attentive parents and caregivers, children will thrive. The 3Rs Early
   Childhood Collaborative has selected the following two “headline indicators” to help us measure
   progress in this area:
       •    % of kindergarten children assessed as “ready” on the Kindergarten Entrance Inventory
       •    % of children at/above proficiency on the Third Grade Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT)
   The Kindergarten Entrance Inventory indicator was selected because it is a culminating point of
   data captured on all kindergarten children in the schools. It helps to capture a child’s first five
   years of life – both their experiences at home and in the community. The early years of a child’s
   life are the most important as the brain develops according to both the nurturing the child
   experiences as well as the natural abilities children are born with.

   What does the data for Danbury tell us?
   First, most of our children in Danbury enter school needing more than a minimum additional
   level of support to acquire kindergarten level skills. The chart below shows the percent of
   students assessed at Level 3 and Level 1 at kindergarten entry in 2008. Students performing at
   Level 3 consistently demonstrate the skills in the specified domain and require minimal
   additional instructional support. Children assessed at Performance Level 1 generally demonstrate
   emerging skills in the specified domain and require a large degree of additional instructional
   support.
Comparison of Children Assessed Demonstrating Consistent Skills in Domains (Level 3) & Emerging Skills (Level 1)




   There are a significantly greater number of Danbury kindergarten children who are performing
   below their peers, 46% in Literacy, 41% in Language, and 43% in Numeracy. More analysis is
   needed to understand what effect the great diversity of our young children has on the
   Kindergarten Entrance Inventory, if any. As indicated by CMTs for Third Grade through Eighth


   Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                             22
Grade, Hispanic children, Black children, children who speak a language other than English,
children from families of lower economic means, and children with special needs are not doing
as well as their peers.

The implications for a kindergarten student who starts school performing behind his/her peers is
staggering: while some are able to catch up, many do not. Their performance tends to lag
behind their peers, making them more at risk for reading difficulties, attendance issues, and later
school drop out.

Danbury’s scores on the CMT reflect the inability of many of these children to catch up with
their peers, both within Danbury and compared to other communities.

                   % of Students at/above Proficiency on the Third Grade CMT
                      (Source: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) School Reports, State Department of Education)
                                                                    2006                2007                   2008
                          Danbury                                     62                  62                     57
    Reading               ------------------------------         -------------      ---------------         -------------
                          State                                       69                  69                     68
                          Danbury                                     84                  85                     78
    Math                  ------------------------------         -------------      ---------------         -------------
                          State                                       78                  80                     81

Many students are not meeting the level of performance that this community desires. Danbury
students did not perform as well as the State averages for Reading, with better results than the
State for Math until 2008.

By helping Danbury parents to create a safe nurturing environment for their children and
promoting a greater understanding among parents and the community about the resources
available, the importance of early literacy, children’s developmental milestones, and good
physical and behavioral health, the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative can “turn the curve” and
ensure that more children arrive prepared for kindergarten and do better in school, as reflected in
improved CMT scores.

The Story Behind the Statistics in Danbury
Why are so many of Danbury’s children not coming to school ready to learn? The following
factors relate to parent support.

Parents’ Lack of Knowledge About Services. The 2009 Danbury Parent Survey indicated that
“Knowledge of Services” was the second biggest barrier to access to services in the Danbury
community (85% identified it as a factor in finding or using programs), second only to cost
(86%). In fact, the survey indicated that most parents (76%) rely on “word of mouth” to learn
about the services that are available to them. In a meeting with Danbury Family Support
providers, held on November 19, 2009, many providers cited the need to get more information
out to parents about family support services. While Danbury agencies offer some parenting skills
classes in English, Spanish, and/or Portuguese (such as ParentNet, COPES, and People
Empowering People), and a new Fatherhood Initiative in 2010 is presenting opportunities for


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                                                  23
fathers to improve their skills, many parents are simply not aware of these opportunities. Parents
who are isolated and disconnected from services will not be aware of, or understand, tools such
as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. They may not realize that their child has not reached an
important developmental milestone, and not make the call to Birth to Three. They may not know
that they qualify for a home visitation service, or how such a service could be beneficial to them.
They also may not understand the importance of the early years as a foundation for future
learning. For many Danbury parents, a greater awareness and understanding of the services
available to them will help them to provide the nurturing and early learning experiences at home
and in the community that prepare their children for school success.

Slightly more than 24% of Danbury children are born to mothers who have not completed high
school. When parents do not have much experience with education or have had a bad experience,
they are less able to support their child’s education.

Educational attainment is also correlated to income level.

Poverty. Danbury’s Strategic School Profile for 2007-2008 indicates that 33.4% of Danbury’s
children are eligible for free and reduced price lunch. In some of our elementary schools, that
number is as high as 60%. Hundreds of studies have documented the link between poverty and a
child’s health, achievement, and behavior. Certainly parents who are unable to provide children
with their most basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) may be less able to provide children with the
types of supports needed to promote their proper development and prepare them for school.
Fortunately, studies also indicate that interventions during early childhood may reduce poverty’s
impact on children (Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Greg J. Duncan 1997). Connecting Danbury’s parents
to services and supports may reduce the impact of poverty on children’s readiness for school,
especially if there is a smooth transition into school, supports are available as needed, and
schools are family-friendly.

Need for More Intensive Services to Prevent Abuse and Neglect and to Help Parents Be
More Effective. While Danbury does offer home visitation services that are designed to prevent
abuse and neglect and support parents who are identified as at-risk, research conducted by the
Danbury Resource Initiative indicates that more services are needed, and more awareness is
needed about who is eligible for those services. Within the last year, the need for more home
visits has been identified because of the economic downturn. Some families require services to
help them with basic needs, and to keep their housing, for example, before they can work on
matters to address parenting. In addition, while Danbury has a Nurturing Family Program
offering home visits to first-time parents at risk of child abuse or neglect, there are no home
visiting services for parents who may be at risk with a second or third child.

Language/Literacy and Culture Barriers for Parents. As more than 30% of Danbury
residents are foreign born (US Census 2000) and almost 19% of K–12 students not fluent in
English (2007–2008 Strategic School Profile), many of our families simply don’t have the
language skills necessary to access services and supports. The 2009 Danbury Parent Survey
indicated that 72% of Danbury parents felt that the language barrier was a “big or moderate”
factor in parents’ ability to find or use programs (84% of Hispanic parents report it as a factor).
Coming into a completely new culture and educational system, parents may not be familiar with



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                      24
the markers of typical child development or understand the importance of providing a literacy
rich home environment. In fact, some parents are be unable to read well, or are afraid to read to
their children in their native languages because they think this will hurt their child’s educational
success, rather than help it. In Community Interviews conducted as part of the Parent Resource
Discovery Initiative, “low literacy levels among parents” was identified as a barrier to accessing
information. In summary, with so many Danbury parents facing the challenges of arriving in a
new country, and so many with different educational levels and expectations, the challenges to
preparing children for kindergarten are numerous.


How Does Danbury Turn the Curve?
Numerous studies have cited the importance of parent involvement in children’s school success
(Henderson and Mapp, 2002). Arthur Reynolds and Melissa Clements, in their long-term study
of Chicago Parent Centers, found that “children’s readiness for school entry can be enriched
through family support and language learning activities” and that programs that provide
“intensive resources for parent involvement yield greater and longer-lasting benefits than many
efforts that consume a larger share of public spending.”

Here in Danbury, teachers attending a professional development day discussion on parental
involvement (sponsored by Danbury Discovery in 2004) indicated that they felt children would
do better in school if their parents understood the following:
   • The importance of teaching skills through everyday, fun activities at home
   • The importance to reading to their children
   • The importance of proper sleep, good nutrition, and safety
   • The need to provide a structured home environment and to teach children respect and proper
     conduct
   • Developmentally appropriate milestones

With the understanding that parent involvement is crucial to school success and that children
who are spending their childhood in safe, nurturing, and learning-rich environments will do
better in school, the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative proposes the following Strategies:




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       25
Framework for Action in the Strategic Area of
Parenting that Supports Healthy Development
and Early Learning:
For this strategic area, Parenting That Support Healthy Development and Early Learning,
the following indicators are helpful to measure the impact on child outcomes:
Home visiting has been identified as a best practice for parents of infants and very young
children to support parenting to achieve their child’s optimal development through numerous
research studies and is proposed as important to expand for more Danbury parents with infants
and young children. Home and personal visits have a record of improving life for Danbury’s
children as indicated by the downward trend of children who have been abused, neglected, or not
cared for is shown in the chart below.
            Number/percent of children substantiated as abused/neglected/uncared for in Danbury
                                (Source: CT Department of Children and Families, Town Pages)




The largest public investment within Danbury’s Family Support System is in home visits,
including Early Intervention Services (Birth to Three System) for children with developmental
delays and other special needs. In FY08, 71 Danbury children exited the Birth to Three System,
with 49 entering special education preschool from the Birth to Three System. This indicates that
for some children early intervention meant that they did not need special education.

In addition, the number of children enrolled in the Ages and Stages Program would be a good
performance measure when data could be collected across all programs. The Ages and Stages
program provides a family-friendly way for parents to understand more about their child’s
developmental milestones and to help identify if any additional services are needed to ensure the
best possible outcomes for the child. Child Development Infoline keeps records of those who
use Ages and Stages through their site only. In 2009, Child Development Infoline had 27 new
Danbury enrollees; and Danbury Public Schools Family Resource Centers had 71, of which 52
were Spanish speaking.


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                        26
Strategy 1.

   Increase home and personal visiting services for families with young
  children so they can create a home environment that is safe, nurturing,
             and promotes healthy development and learning.
Sub-strategies
Expand home and personal visiting services          Improve access to home and personal
already offered in the community.                   visiting services.
Actions
Develop a collaborative table of home visiting
                                                    Conduct outreach to families to connect
providers from across all strategic areas of this
early childhood plan to:
                                                    them to services:

•Identify and describe all home visit programs in   •Use existing networks (i.e. CARO), new
detail for provider, community and parents’ use     networks ( revised Healthy Mothers
in understanding availability of home visiting.     Healthy Babies),schools, health/social
• Identify services to expand or alter              service providers, early childhood
eligibility requirements.                           providers, and electronic sharing of
• Examine cost and child outcomes to                information to inform service providers
determine the best use of resources.                about these available services
• Examine and improve, as appropriate,              •Utilize outreach strategies and/or
responsiveness to needs of diverse                  worker position to recruit families.
cultural/language population and to those
with special needs.                                 Enhance capacity with regard to cultural
                                                    and linguistic responsiveness:
Raise public awareness of the importance of
home visits to parents of young children, to         Respond to staffing needs according to
support the child’s health, care, early literacy,   language capacities and cultural
and connection/referrals to other services as       responsiveness needed to serve families
appropriate.                                        in the Danbury community.
Expand and enhance the availability of home         • provide multi-cultural education to
visits for families who are referred by state       providers.
agencies, for families of children with             •hire bi-cultural/bi-lingual staff as
mental/behavioral health needs, including those     needed and when possible.
of diverse cultural/linguistic backgrounds, and
ensure that families of infants at risk of child    Publish a directory of home visiting services.
abuse or neglect receive home visits.

Explore the possibility of expanding home visits
to additional parents of infants and very young
children, with new/ enhanced programs which
may utilize volunteers or new resources to be
developed.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                           27
Strategy 2.

Increase parents’ knowledge about developmental milestones, early
literacy, socio-emotional development, health, and oral health.

Sub-strategies
Reach families with information through traditional           Increase parenting education
and non-traditional formats including parents who             classes, parent to parent supports,
are informed connecting with other parents.                   early literacy programs, and links
                                                              to services.
Actions

Publish resource directories on each component of the         Expand existing programs by
early childhood system, (health system services, family       collaborating and partnering with
support system services, and early care and education         other organizations (i.e. faith based
services) utilizing the existing media. Include               organizations, cultural centers, etc.)
information on details of the service, the description of     and among family support providers
services, who’s eligible, fees, and languages spoken.

Make widely accessible, a comprehensive directory of          Playgroups & Parent-Child Activity
services for all services in the family support system,       Groups:
which include Home Visits, Parent Education, Parent           •Support parent/volunteer led
Information, Playgroups/Parent-Child Activity Groups,         playgroups and parent-child activity
Early Literacy, Parent Support, and Health Services.          groups to provide more information
                                                              to families on services, other
Expand the capacity of the family support system to           resources in the community, and
deliver information and referrals on the full range of        provide hands-on education about
services available to families. This would include:           physical fitness and activities that
    • Professional development to orient and                  support fitness.
         familiarize service providers about all elements     •Help the facilitators who operate
         of the Danbury Early Childhood System that           these groups clearly identify their
         includes the family support system services,         transportation needs in order to
         health system services, educational resources,       discover solutions.
         and early care/ childcare.                           •Continue to survey families about
    • Explore more and deeper partnerships, including         gaps in the city for playgroups and
         with the new Parent Literacy Center.                 parent-child activity groups and
                                                              create a plan to address those unmet
Expand capacity to connect families in traditional and
                                                              needs, especially for families that are
non-traditional ways on the topics listed above ensuring
                                                              immigrants.
that the approach also incorporates non-English
speaking families, including through:
                                                              Work to create a Parent Center,
•Conduct quarterly Information Fairs that would offer         which would provide a central place
opportunities for social service providers, health and        for parents to connect with resources
behavioral health providers, and all agencies serving         and each other. The Center will be
families to present their services to families. Information   welcoming to families from all walks
should be presented in many languages. The fair would         of life and from all racial and
be conducted at a time and place that would be                cultural backgrounds. The Center
accessible to as many families as possible.                   would provide a central location for
•Promote more services and information in multiple            conducting parenting skills and
languages, and translate information into Spanish and         leadership classes and offer space


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                              28
Portuguese if it is not already available (and other        for on-site childcare while parents
languages as determined by need)                            attend classes. The Center would
                                                            also offer an opportunity for parents
Use a variety of ways to get information to parents:        to connect with each other and
•Develop and use a “train the trainer” program through      benefit from parent-to-parent
local faith based organizations and the housing authority   support.
on these topics
•Develop a Speakers Bureau on early childhood
education topics for families
•Create or purchase DVDs relevant to this topic and
distribute them for use among health care offices, DSS
offices, businesses, wherever parents are.
•Expand early childhood informational kiosks to
additional sites in the community
•Distribute revised lists of resources that were created
over the years; utilize Born Learning Materials and other
existing resources to provide information to parents


Strategy 2 -- continued.

Increase parents’ knowledge about developmental milestones, early
literacy, socio-emotional development, health, and oral health.

Sub-strategies

Expand the use of developmental screening of           Increase early literacy programs
young children in order to identify any health or
social- emotional issues to ensure that parents, in
partnership with providers, can provide the best
intervention services to address the well-being of
the children.
Actions

Link families to the Ages and Stages Questionnaire     Develop early literacy programs for all
(ASQ) and enroll them in the program                   parents so that they understand how to
(developmental screening tool) and work to develop a   support early learning at home, through
method to collect and track Danbury families using     coordination and partnership of those
the ASQ across all appropriate family support          involved in early literacy services.
programs.                                              Work to imbed early literacy into the
                                                       family support delivery system, health
This will include:                                     system, and early care and education
                                                       system, by providing professional
 (1) Create more awareness of the Ages and Stages      development to staff working with
tool, a best practice and family-friendly,             families of young children.
developmental screening tool for use by parents of
children up to age five,                               Offer at least two 6-week Lee y serás
                                                       early literacy programs for Latino
(2) Coordination among family support providers


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                          29
and providers from other community sectors to           parents each year, serving at least 30
introduce the tool to parents and follow-up to ensure   families each year and impacting 40
its maximum use, and the                                Latino children ages from infants to five
                                                        years old. Over time, at least four
(3) Development of a data collection system in          offered would have greater impact on
Danbury to track the children who have a                Latino children’s readiness for school.
developmental screening.
                                                        Collaborate with the Parent Literacy
                                                        Center planned and run through the
                                                        Danbury Public Schools




Strategy 3

   Increase public knowledge about the importance of the early years for
     learning and development through a public awareness campaign.

Sub-strategies

Connect with local media, businesses, faith based organizations, and formal and informal
leaders in the community.

Actions

Hold meetings, in the community and one-on-one with key leaders and influential individuals.

Create effective ads in print and TV with simple, direct messages (look at resources produced in
other communities)

Include media in languages reflective of Danbury’s population

Plan and deliver a schedule of articles on early childhood development topics for newspapers to
publish, faith based groups to include in their bulletins, and businesses to distribute via their
human resource departments.

Incorporate Born Learning materials in the campaign


Other data to collect, track, and analyze in the Parenting that Supports Healthy Development
and Early Learning strategic area in the future includes:
    •    % of children who received Birth to Three (early intervention) services who did not
         require preschool special education services
    •    # of children aged 3-5 identified with special physical or educational needs (For 2005-
         2006, 30 3-year olds, 45 4-year olds, and 7 5-year olds identified for special education
         services. Nineteen students exited the Birth to Three program at age 3, were referred to



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                          30
         special education, had a transition conference convened at least 90 days before the child’s
         third birthday, and received a Free and Appropriate Education by age 3.)
    •    # of children enrolled in the Ages and Stages Program
    •    # of referrals to Birth to Three (early intervention for infants and toddlers). Danbury had
         265 referrals in FY2009. There were 1232 births in Danbury 2008.

Data which would have to be developed would include:

1. The number of parents of young children who complete parent education classes/programs,
   an unduplicated count.
2. The number of parents who complete early literacy programs.
3. The number of children enrolled in the Ages and Stages Program totaled across all programs.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       31
Readiness for School
All Danbury children aged birth through eight are healthy and
ready for school and lifelong learning.
Early childhood education programs can be effective vehicles to promote readiness for school,
especially for young children from low-income families. However, programs can be effective
only when they are of high quality. Danbury families use a variety of early childhood program
options including:

    •    Centers (i.e. Head Start, School Readiness-funded programs, centers funded by the
         Department of Social Services, nursery schools, other child care centers)
    •    Family childcare homes (care for up to six full-time children in someone’s home,
         licensed by the State Department of Public Health)
    •    Family, friend and neighbor care. Some arrangements are legal and others operate as
         illegal family child care homes or centers.


In the previous section we focused on ways parents and families can help a child become ready
for school. In this section we will look at early childhood programs. However, we will use the
same measure:

% of kindergarten children assessed as “ready” on the Kindergarten
Entrance Inventory

Most of our children in Danbury enter school needing more than a minimum additional level of
support to acquire kindergarten level skills. The chart below shows the percent of students
assessed at Level 3 and Level 1 at kindergarten entry in 2008. Students performing at Level 3
consistently demonstrate the skills in the specified domain and require minimal additional
instructional support. Children assessed at Performance Level 1 generally demonstrate emerging
skills in the specified domain and require a large degree of additional instructional support.




The implications for a kindergarten student who starts school performing behind his/her peers is
staggering: while some are able to catch up, many do not. Their performance tends to lag


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   32
behind their peers making them at risk for reading difficulties, attendance issues, and later school
drop out.

The Story Behind the Statistics in Danbury
Why are so many kindergartners starting school without the skills they need to succeed? The
challenges faced by Danbury’s early care system are in some ways unique, and in some ways
reflect challenges faced by many of Connecticut’s communities.

No Early Childhood Programming Experience. Approximately 60–70% of Danbury’s
kindergarteners have attended preschool, nursery school, or Head Start; 30–40% have not. Why
are so many children missing out on valuable preschool experiences? While high-quality early
childhood programs can help to prepare children for kindergarten, families may not be able to
access those programs, for a variety of reasons, including capacity limits, costs, transportation,
and parent choice.

Capacity. It is estimated that there are 1,965 children of preschool age in Danbury in 2010. Of
those children, 347 are attending School Readiness funded centers (298 in full-time openings,
and 49 in part-time openings), 120 are attending state-funded centers, and about 350 are
attending Head Start. Waiting lists for School Readiness, state-funded centers, and the Head
Start program are long, with at least 50 parents waiting for openings for each of these programs.
The Danbury School Readiness Council estimates that more than 400 School Readiness program
spaces would be needed to accommodate all families who could use the programs.

This capacity problem is exacerbated by the alarming drop in licensed family day care centers in
Danbury. There are currently 81 licensed family day care centers in Danbury, down from 210 in
2008. This drop is partially due to the fact that demand has decreased, as parents seek more
affordable, unlicensed childcare for preschoolers while they work. There are also a number of
disincentives for family providers to become licensed, including rigorous guidelines and
standards and the cost of obtaining a license.

Cost. Cost of care is certainly a major factor that prevents many Danbury parents from accessing
quality childcare. The average weekly cost of infant/toddler care in a center is $250.10; in a
licensed family day care center it’s $203.53. With more than 1,000 families in Danbury living
below the poverty level, it can be difficult for families to come up with the money needed to
send their children to licensed care. Many families are opting to use unlicensed centers and “kith
and kin” providers, where the setting is frequently non-educational, simply to make it possible to
work. Parents who work irregular hours and do shift work may also be unable to access
programs that are available during normal working hours.

While Connecticut’s Care4Kids programs is designed to help low- to moderate-income families
pay for childcare costs, many families struggle with the paperwork required to apply for the
program, or may not meet eligibility requirements. As of November 2009, 275 children were
being supported by Care4Kids program in Danbury.

Transportation. Transportation may also play a role in preventing parents from enrolling their
children in quality early care settings. Many of Danbury’s lower income and immigrant families



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       33
have only one car or no car at all. Few childcare centers are located on bus lines, and obtaining
bus transportation that coordinates with parents’ working hours and the childcare settings’
programming hours can be a near logistical impossibility.

Lack of Quality in the Early Childhood Program. While finding an affordable and accessible
child care setting for a preschooler may be challenging enough, finding a setting that offers a
high standard of quality programming is even more challenging. There are currently only eight
centers in Danbury that are accredited by the National Association for the Education for Young
Children (NAEYC). While School Readiness and state-funded centers and Head Start maintain
high quality standards, the many unlicensed childcare settings used by Danbury’s low-income
families probably do not. At the unlicensed facilities, children are not able to benefit from a
curriculum that focuses on child development, uses appropriate teaching methods, and promotes
the health and proper nutrition preschool children need. In Danbury, 71 children receiving
Care4Kids subsidies are in unregulated care, but many more who are not receiving subsidies are
placed in these types of settings where quality is not monitored.

Quality Enhancement Funding provided through the Danbury School Readiness Council is used
to provide trainings and workshops for childcare providers in all settings so that the quality of
their programming can be improved, but more funding is needed to expand the program. Quality
Enhancement programs currently receive $42,000 per year from the Department of Social
Services, down from $72,000 in 2002.

Early Childhood Caregivers/Teachers Are Not Adequately Trained/Educated. Childcare
providers who want to pursue higher education in their field have very limited options in
Danbury. The local college, Western Connecticut State University, does not offer a Bachelor’s
degree in Early Childhood Education. Naugatuck Valley Community College does offer a
certificate program and Associate’s Degree, but it is about a 30-minute drive from Danbury.
Area childcare workers who want to obtain a degree in this field must be willing to travel, and
courses may not be offered at times that accommodate their working hours.

Difficulty attracting and retaining qualified early childhood staff because of low wages. In
Danbury, as of May 2006, preschool teachers earned an average of $13.88 per hour, with an
average annual salary of $28,870. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor) This is only about $5,000
above the estimated living wage for a single adult for Danbury. With childcare workers barely
able to meet basic living expenses, it is easy to understand the challenges of attracting educated,
caring individuals to the field of early childhood education. Add to that the skyrocketing costs of
obtaining a degree (with tuition above $7,000 per year at public universities in Connecticut, and
almost $3,000 at the local community college) and one can see the challenges centers face in
recruiting qualified staff.

How Do We Turn the Curve in Danbury So That More Children Receive Preschool
Experiences?
Improving the quality of all preschool programming in Danbury will ensure that more of our
children will have the developmental skills they need to start their education off on the right foot.
We can do this by increasing the number of children who have access to accredited centers, and
by increasing training opportunities for all of Danbury’s childcare providers. This includes



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                        34
providing more training and support to the increasing number of family, friend, and neighbor
care providers (also known as “kith and kin” providers) that more families are relying on for
affordable care.

Expanding affordable childcare and preschool offerings will require more coordinated advocacy
efforts. Parents and providers need to demand more funding for School Readiness and state-
funded centers, as well as for Head Start. And changes to the Care4Kids program, including
higher reimbursement rates, will increase the supply of affordable care in Danbury.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                35
Framework for Action in the Strategic Area
of Readiness for School
The New 3Rs strategic plan will address quality early childhood programs through the
following two strategies:

Strategy 1.
                  Ensure all child care providers are of high quality

Sub-strategies
                                     Reinitiate National     Increase training of all types to all
Increase the number of               Association for         provider types
accredited centers                   Family Child Care
                                     (NAFCC)
                                     Accreditation support
                                     system
Actions
                                     Secure funding          Offer training and support to
Conduct National                                             family, friend, and neighbor care
Association for the                  Replicate pilot         providers to help them get
Education of Young                   implemented by          licensed ( “All Our Kin” model)
Children (NAEYC)                     Connecticut Charts-
Accreditation Facilitation           A-Course                Increase the number of center
Project (AFP) outreach to                                    based teachers who effectively use
all Danbury licensed                                         the State Department of
centers                                                      Education’s Preschool Curricular
                                                             Framework and Preschool
Enroll more centers in the                                   Assessment Framework
AFP                                                          (PCF/PAF)

                                                             Provided subsidized, locally
                                                             accessible college courses in
                                                             early childhood education

                                                             Survey providers of all types
                                                             about their training needs and use
                                                             information to develop trainings

                                                             Increase the number of all
                                                             provider types who have been
                                                             trained on the state’s Early
                                                             Learning Guideline’s for Infants
                                                             and Toddlers



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                           36
Strategy 2.
               Increase the supply of affordable child care/preschool

Sub-strategies

Advocate for changes in the Care 4 Kids       Advocate for increased funding for School
subsidy program                               Readiness, Department of Social Services
                                              funded spaces, and Head Start including
                                              spaces dedicated for infants and toddlers
Actions

Create a broad coalition of stakeholders,     Create a broad coalition of stakeholders,
including parents, to participate in          including parents, to participate in
advocacy efforts                              advocacy efforts

Contact legislators about the need to         Contact legislators about the need for more
increase the subsidy rate                     spaces, including subsidized spaces for
                                              infants/toddlers
Contact legislators about the need to
change the income eligibility requirements    Contact the local media
so more low income families can be
eligible

Contact the local media



Other data we would collect, track, an analyze in the Readiness for School strategic area if it
were available and the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative had the capacity:

    •    % of preschool teachers who are trained in the PCF/PAF
    •    % of early childhood programs that do developmental screenings on the children enrolled




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   37
Early School Success
All Danbury children aged birth through eight are healthy and
ready for school and lifelong learning.

Success in the early grades is often a predictor of success in the later grades. Research shows
that children who are not reading well by the third grade have a marked risk for reading
challenges throughout their school careers. While there are many different ways to measure
“early school success,” the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative has selected the following
“headline indicator” to help us measure progress in this area:

    •    % of students at/above proficiency on the third grade Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT)

This headline indicator was selected for the following reasons:
   • Many communities across the state are using the CMT data and this helps with a
       statewide perspective
   • The CMT is reflective of multiple domains of performance (math, literacy)
   • The third grade CMT takes place at the end of the age range for our strategic plan
   • The CMT is used for every student in the district

What does the data for Danbury tell us?

                   % of Students at/above Proficiency on the Third Grade CMT
                      (Source: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) School Reports, State Department of Education)
                                                                    2006                2007                   2008
                          Danbury                                     62                  62                     57
    Reading               ------------------------------         -------------      ---------------         -------------
                          State                                       69                  69                     68
                          Danbury                                     84                  85                     78
    Math                  ------------------------------         -------------      ---------------         -------------
                          State                                       78                  80                     81


Many students are not meeting the level of performance that this community desires. Danbury
students did not perform as well as the state averages in Reading, and in Math in 2008.

Danbury Public Schools recently experienced an outside audit of its instructional programs by
Cambridge Education because it failed to make adequate yearly progress in non-performing
schools. In response, a District Enhancement Plan for 2009-2014 was developed and is in the
process of being implemented.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                                                  38
The Story Behind the Statistics in Danbury
Why are so many students performing below the state averages on the CMT in Danbury? What
factors hinder Danbury pupil achievement in the early grades?

Student Mobility. A high rate of student mobility has been cited by many of Danbury’s teachers
and school administrators as one of the biggest challenges they face when trying to improve
student performance. When students move from school to school, both within the district and to
other surrounding districts, their academic performance suffers. Research shows that students
who move frequently from school to school are at greater risk of academic and behavioral
problems (Hartmann, 2002), with the most negative effects of geographic mobility found at
earlier grade levels (Ingersoll, 1989). Research shows that a number of factors contribute to high
mobility rates, including race and low income; these factors are consistent with Danbury
demographics.

Absenteeism. High rates of absenteeism also plague the Danbury School District, so much so
that reducing absenteeism has become one of the primary focus areas for the Danbury District
Enhancement Plan for 2009–2014. The District is targeting a 15% decrease over 3 years in the
number of students with 10 or more absences from school. As with mobility, absenteeism rates
tend to be higher in low-income and urban districts, such as Danbury.

Students Do Not Have Mastery of the English Language. As reported in the 2007-2008
Strategic School Profile, 1,818 students, or about 18.8% of the Danbury student population is not
fluent in English. The Connecticut Mastery Test Achievement (CMT) and the Connecticut
Academic Performance Test (CAPT) data reflect the challenges these students face
academically. For the 2008 CMTs, only 19% of English Language Learners scored at or above
proficient in Reading; only 55% of ELL students performed at or above proficient in Math. The
performance of ELL students seems to decline in the higher grades, as reported in Danbury’s
CAPT scores. For the 2008 CAPT, only 14% of ELL students were at or above proficient in
reading; only 18% were at or above proficient in math. The District recognizes the importance of
improving the performance of ELL students, and has made it one of the primary focuses the
District Enhancement Plan.

Lack of Continuity Between the Preschool and Early Elementary Grade Curriculum. With
Danbury’s children receiving preschool experiences in wide variety of settings (School
Readiness, state-funded, Head Start, and licensed and unlicensed family child care), kindergarten
teachers are welcoming students into their classrooms who have an extremely broad range of
skills and abilities. Greater alignment between what is being taught in preschools and the
expectations for student achievement in the early elementary grades can make the transition to
kindergarten a more positive experience for both students and their teachers.

Families Are Unable to Support Educational Efforts at Home. As discussed in “Parenting
That Supports Healthy Development and Learning,” parents play a major role in determining a
child’s school success. Yet many parents may not be able to support their children’s academics
as much as they would like. Parents with lower educational levels may not have the language and
mathematics skills needed to help their children with homework. In Danbury this may be a




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     39
strong contributing factor in poor student performance; 24.3% of births are to mothers who have
not completed high school.

The fact that 37.5% of the districts’ students come from homes where English is not the primary
language also has huge repercussions for how well parents can support their children. Parents
who speak a language other than English may not only have difficulty helping their children with
homework, they may not be able to communicate with the schools about their students’ needs.
Because of language barriers, transportation, and irregular working hours, parents may be
unaware of, or unable to participate in, Open Houses and parent-teacher conferences.
Information gathered from the Danbury Parent Survey showed that parents pay attention to the
information they receive from schools, but they would like more information about how the
schools work, and they would like more information in their native languages. The Danbury
school staff may not be optimally trained to handle the broad spectrum of cultures their students
come from, with only 9.2% minority staff in a district with a 48.1% minority population.

Other potential factors influencing student achievement that we do not now have data on are:
    1. Some students have undiagnosed learning disabilities
    2. The curriculum is not appropriate for the individual or population (too academic versus
       social/emotional), or does not address cultural differences.
    3. Quality of instruction is not adequate. Recently, through the Danbury Public School
       District’s Enhancement plan, curriculum taught across the district for kindergarten has
       improved along with other procedures.

How Do We Turn the Curve for Danbury?
Breaking down the barriers to family support could have a dramatic effect on Danbury’s student
achievement. All parents need to feel that they are valuable participants in the educational
process, no matter what their education level is or what language they speak. Parents need to be
engaged in their children’s education right from the start, with outreach efforts beginning at the
kindergarten registration process. Schools need to make efforts to provide parent communication
in Spanish and Portuguese, and they need to create a welcoming atmosphere for all families.
When all parents feel comfortable entering the schools and connecting with teachers, their
children’s performance will improve. Parent education about the effects of mobility and
absenteeism could also help to play a role in these detriments to student performance.

Preschool teachers and teachers in the early grades need to communicate and work to ensure
continuity between curriculum. More training of preschool and kindergarten teachers on the
Preschool Assessment Framework, Kindergarten curriculum and assessment and the
Kindergarten Entrance Inventory will help to put those who teach our youngest students on the
same page and create a more consistent learning environment for the students.

Finally, additional full-day kindergarten opportunities for Danbury students are needed.
Currently, only 48% of Danbury students are offered full-day kindergarten. Advocacy efforts are
needed to increase funding to expand the number of spaces to increase instructional time.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     40
Framework for Action in the Strategic Area of
Early School Success:
The plan will address early school success through the following three strategies:


Strategy 1.

       Ensure continuity of curriculum between preK and kindergarten

Sub-strategies
                                                      Provide information to family
Ensure that all preK and K teachers are knowledgeable child care providers on the preK
about both curriculums                                and K curriculums
Actions
                                                      Create modified crosswalk
Utilize a consultant to do a preK/K curriculum and    information that captures the
assessment crosswalk                                  most essential pieces of the
                                                      preK and K curriculum
Develop a plan and schedule to train all preK and K
teachers in town on the Preschool Curriculum          Develop a plan and schedule to
Framework (PCF), Preschool Assessment Framework train all family child care
(PAF), Kindergarten curriculum and assessment, and providers in Danbury
the Kindergarten Entrance Inventory
                                                      Develop a preK/K newsletter
Develop a plan for preK and K teachers to visit       that can be accessed
respective settings                                   electronically via
                                                      websites/email
Develop a preK/K newsletter that can be accessed
electronically via websites/email

Align results of Kindergarten Entrance Inventory with
appropriate training opportunities in the community to
address areas in need of improvement

Districts and unions remove impediments and create
incentives to carry out action items




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                               41
Strategy 2.
                    Increase the number of full day kindergarten slots
Sub-strategies
Advocate for increased number of full-day kindergarten spaces
Actions
Create a broad advocacy effort that includes parents
Contact legislators about the need for more full-day spaces
Contact the local media


Strategy 3.
                          Ensure that schools are “family friendly”
Sub-strategies
Create uniform data                Ensure coordination of parent-          Ensure that schools are
collection system for all          friendly kindergarten transition        prepared to welcome a
elementary schools on              process                                 diverse population of
parent involvement                                                         children and families
indicators
Actions
Develop the appropriate            Continue the work of the transition     Provide cultural
software/spreadsheets              team which informs/encourages           sensitivity training to
                                   families to register for kindergarten   staff at all levels
Create schedule for                and is working toward developing a
collecting information at          universal registration packet for all   Investigate how teacher
the elementary level on:           public elementary schools               training programs
parent/teacher                                                             educate future teachers
conferences, kindergarten          Develop kindergarten registration       on best practices for
orientation attendance,            event schedule that enables working     English language
elementary school open             families to participate                 learners
house attendance
including what supports            Create media campaign that uses         Continue district efforts
were available for non-            the municipality, businesses, faith     to appropriately service
English speaking families          organizations, and local social         English language
                                   service providers                       learners
Determine plan for how,
when, and through whom             Provide bilingual registration       Provide more
the data will be shared            documents/translators that allow     information to parents
with the public                    non-English speaking families to     about how schools work
                                   participate                          (i.e. communication,
District and unions                                                     problem solving,
remove impediments and             District and unions remove           collaboration/teamwork,
create incentives to carry         impediments and create incentives to etc.)
out action items                   carry out action items



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                             42
Other data would we would collect, track, and analyze in the Early School Success strategic
area if it were readily available and/or the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative had the capacity.

    •    Data tracking to see the differences between children with and without a quality
         preschool experience
    •    Parent involvement data, including participation in parent-teacher conferences,
         attendance records for open house, and kindergarten orientation
    •    Longitudinal data comparing full day kindergarten students to partial day kindergarten
         students




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   43
Conclusion:
A collective community responsibility will ensure that all Danbury children aged birth through
eight are healthy and ready for school and lifelong learning. Every sector has a part to play:

Parents………can seek out and utilize the resources they need to provide a loving, stable, and
nurturing home environment that supports learning and safety.

Early childhood programs……can commit to providing high quality experiences for young
children and seek to continually incorporate best practices.

Legislators……can listen to their constituents and work to provide state fiscal support to those
programs and services that significantly improve positive outcomes for young children and their
families.

Pediatricians………can recognize their potential to connect families to many other needed
supports and services and use their influence to sensitively encourage families to adopt healthy
lifestyles.

Businesses……can create work environments that are supportive to employees with children
through their policies and practices.

Community leaders………can act as champions to support the various services and programs
that our community needs.

Schools……can respond to the needs of their diverse students and families while holding high
standards for achievement and welcome families as partners in their child’s education.

Social service providers……can become a more coordinated network of support for all
families in Danbury.

Faith based organizations……can continue to support families in many and varied ways
while collaborating with other service providers.

Behavioral health providers……can encourage prevention efforts for families and respond
to the diverse families and children who are in need of their services.

       The 3Rs Collaborative is excited to act as a catalyst and
  facilitator of action for Danbury to achieve our result statement!


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   44
Appendix A: 3Rs Membership


3Rs: Leadership Group (as of January 2009)
Name                              Affiliation
Dorcas Blue                       Fairfield County Community Foundation
Mayor Mark                        City of Danbury
Boughton
George Coleman                    State Department of Education
Eva Colón                         Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury
John Cook                         Diocese of Bridgeport
Pastor Ophir                      All Nations Baptist Church
Debarros
Irving Fox                        Danbury Public Schools Board of Education
Jan Giegler                       State Representative
Robert Godfrey                    State Representative
Jim Maloney                       Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc.
Dr. Sal Pascarella                Danbury Public Schools
Mini Pillai                       Indian Association of Greater Danbury
Reverend Ivan Pitts               New Hope Baptist Church
Leticia Rocha                     Parent and Discovery Grant Co-Chair
Dr. James                         Western Connecticut State University
Schmotter
Carolyn Sistrunk                  Housing Authority of the City of Danbury
Ileana Velazquez                  Department of Children and Families
Jenn Wolke                        Parent




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                      45
3Rs: Steering Committee (as of January 2009)

Name                               Affiliation
Alecia Andrews                     United Way of Western Connecticut
Debbie Channing                    Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc.
Eileen Costello                    EDUCATION CONNECTION
Ted Cutsumpas                      City of Danbury
Angela Evertez                     Parent
Juleen Flanigan                    EDUCATION CONNECTION
Sue Giglio                         Families Network of Western Connecticut
Elizabeth Goehring                 United Way of Western Connecticut
Kristen Kennen                     EDUCATION CONNECTION
Linda Kosko                        Danbury Children First
Charlie Manos                      Danbury Public Schools
Debbie Nolan                       Danbury Public Schools

3Rs: Focus Area Team 1 (Children and Families)

Name                               Affiliation
Sonja Ahuja                        Discovery Liaison
Laura Baird                        Children’s Trust Fund: Help Me Grow
Sherri Edgar                       CT Parent Advocacy Center
Angela Evertez                     Parent
Elizabeth Goehring                 United Way of Western Connecticut
Dr. Addie Gillich                  Consultant
Kristen Kennen                     EDUCATION CONNECTION
Linda Kosko                        Danbury Children First
Caroline Lafleur                   Danbury Children First
Ann Lindemeyer                     Danbury Public Schools
Anne Mead                          Early Care and Education Training Institute
Catia Monaco                       Formerly at EDUCATION CONNECTION
Rachel O’Leary                     United Way of Western Connecticut
Jennifer Pane                      Regional YMCA
Debbie Pietras Nolan               Danbury Public Schools
Linda Ritchel                      Western Connecticut Association for Human Rights
Leticia Rocha                      Parent
Patty Sghia                        Parent
Jennifer Traver                    Danbury Public Schools – Family Resource Centers
Maria Vargas                       Danbury Regional Child Advocacy Center




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                            46
3Rs: Focus Area Team 2 (Health, Mental Health, Oral Health)


Name                              Affiliation
Connie Brescia                    Danbury VNA
Andrea Bria                       Early Childhood Consultation Partnership; Catholic Charities
Norm Donofree                     State Department of Social Services
Ann Marie Evans                   WIC
Juleen Flanigan                   EDUCATION CONNECTION
Dr. Jack Fong                     Danbury Hospital Pediatrics
Alisson Fulton                    Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse
Sue Giglio                        Families Network of Western Connecticut
Adele Gordon                      Community Health Center – Danbury
Dr. Ann Hines                     Hanahoe Memorial Children’s Clinic
Valerie Kolitz                    Danbury Hospital
Suzanne Levasseur                 Danbury Public Schools Administrative Center
Irene Litwak                      Danbury VNA: Immunization Action Program
Elaine Malgieri                   Catholic Charities
Patty Mascoli                     WIC
Patrick McGary                    Dental Associates
Kathleen Molinaro                 Danbury Board of Education
Kathleen Moonan                   Danbury Hospital Center for Breastfeeding
Llara Perez                       Community Health Center – Danbury
Pamela Pulhaus                    Samaritan Center
Caitlin Reese                     City of Danbury – Welfare Division
Dr. Veronica Ron-Priola           Pediatric Health Center at the Seifert and Ford Community
                                  Health Center
Kay Schreiber                     Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism
Jose Segura                       Seifert and Ford Community Health Center
Jacqueline Serrano                Staywell –Healthy Start
Patty Sghia                       Parent
Katherine Tucker                  Parent




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                    47
3Rs: Focus Area Team 3 (Schools)

Name                               Affiliation
Alecia Andrews                     United Way of Northern Fairfield County
Dawn Barney-Ballard                Danbury Even Start Program
Vivian Colden                      Action Early Learning Center
Lauren Contorno                    Parent
Eileen Costello                    Danbury School Readiness
Dr. Bob Dylewski                   Danbury Public Schools
Barbara Fortunato                  Danbury Public Schools
Dr. William Glass                  Danbury Public Schools
Augusto Gomes                      Danbury Public Schools – ESL Center
Joan Hodge                         Danbury Public Schools - Board of Education
Sam Hyman                          The HORD Foundation
Susan Kish                         Parent
Marilyn Knight                     KinderCare
Regina Lima                        Mill Ridge School Family Resource Center
Ann Lindenmeyer                    Danbury Public Schools
Charlie Manos                      Danbury Public Schools
Mike McLaughlin                    City of Danbury
Mark Meyer                         Hudson Country Montessori
Dr. Sal Pascarella                 Danbury Public Schools
Mini Pillai                        Action Early Learning Center
Shirley Ricart-Carter              Formerly at Head Start
Jane Ryan                          Community Volunteer
Arlene Salvador                    Diocese of Bridgeport
Linda Siciliano                    Danbury Public Schools
Debbie Stanton                     Danbury Public Schools
Karen Thompson                     Interfaith Early Learning Center
Lionel Villavicencio               Parent
Kara Watson-Wanzer                 Head Start
Jenn Wolke                         Parent




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                       48
Appendix B: Governance and Accountability

Governance Plan:

The Danbury 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative was founded to work toward the desired result
that all Danbury children, aged birth through eight, are healthy and ready for school and life
long learning.

The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative Vision is:

All Children Are Ready for School.
         Ready Children and Families: All children in Danbury have the physical, social,
         emotional, language, and cognitive skills to start kindergarten. All families are informed
         about their child’s development, the importance of early learning, and are supported to
         become their child’s first and primary teacher.
         Ready Communities: All children have access to high quality programs that positively
         influence their health, development, and school readiness.
         Ready Schools: Schools are active partners in creating a successful transition from the
         birth-5 educational experiences into the K-3 educational experiences.

The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative Mission is to engage the Danbury community in
making positive and lasting change that ensures all young children reach their full potential for
success in school.

Community Planning Principles guiding work, adapted from Ready by 5 & Fine by 9, are:
  • Families and communities raise children
  • All families need information about early childhood development
  • All families need information and support to assure that their children reach appropriate
    developmental milestones.
  • Learning begins at birth.
  • All children will have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviors that
    enable them to be successful in the early years of schooling.
  • Parents will be partners with the school system and with community providers in the
    development of their child’s education, health and social emotional wellness.
  • Plans are inclusive and demonstrate respect for differences, value cultural responsiveness
    and extend an appreciation for those with special needs.

The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative is one unified body, representative of the Danbury
community, and has the decision-making authority for the 3Rs Early Childhood Plan.
The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative also acts to champion the plan, and to support the Plan’s
implementation. The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative meets three to four times per year.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                         49
The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative has Co-Chairs, who plan the meeting agendas and Chair
the meetings, oversee the Plan and its results, and provide direction to the staff, in coordination
with the Collaborative Sponsor. A process for nominating and electing Co-Chairs has to be
established. In the meantime, Co-Chairs have been elected for a transitional period to end by
September 30, 2010.

Focus Area Teams
The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative is supported by Four Teams, each with a focus on a
particular strategic focus area. Each Team has a Chair or Co-Chairs. The Teams’ membership
includes providers and parents, and members from other sectors of the community who have an
interest in the Focus Team. Focus Area Teams analyze particular strategic areas and data in
order to recommend and cause implementation of strategies, sub strategies, and actions. Focus
Area Teams meet monthly.

The Readiness for School Team work is carried out by the Danbury School Readiness Council.
The Teams are:

    1.   Health Awareness and Actions
    2.   Parenting that Supports Healthy Development and Early Learning
    3.   Readiness for School
    4.   Early School Success

Steering Committee
The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative is also supported by a Steering Committee, which
supports the Teams, and also serves as a conduit for information and communication between the
Collaborative and Team Members. All Team Chairs, the Collaborative Co Chairs, and the
Collaborative Sponsor are members. The Steering Committee monitors progress on the planning
as a whole. The Steering Committee meets monthly.

Decision Making
Decisions of the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative are made by a simple majority vote of all
appointed members. Recommendations coming forth from the Focus Area Teams and the
Steering Committee to the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative are made by consensus and reflect
the endorsement of at least 50% of the current membership.

Staff
There is one paid full time position that supports the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative when
funding is available. The job description is currently being revised and will be completed by
March 20, 2010. Skills will include facilitation, communication skills, computer skills, data
reporting and analysis, grant and program management, and the ability to work with a diversity
of individuals and groups.

Membership
Members of the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative, Teams, and Steering Committee serve as
volunteers.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       50
Membership on the Teams is open to anyone who lives or works in Danbury. Members to
Teams are recruited for their expertise and/or life experiences related to the Focus Area. New
members to the Team may be oriented by the Focus Team Co Chairs, or by the staff person.

Resignation from a member of the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative, Steering Committee, or
Focus Area Team should be made in writing to the staff person. When refilling a vacancy,
community diversity will be considered.

New members can be oriented through the Focus Area Team Co-chairs or the staff person.

Funding Protocols include:
The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative is in a unique position to help connect funding needs to
funding sources.
   • Focus Area Team Co-chairs will be responsible for reporting to the Steering Committee
       funding needs uncovered in that focus area
   • The staff will be responsible for compiling information on funding needs that are
       presented to the Steering Committee and the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative.
   • The staff will act as the point person for funding sources made available to the Danbury
       Community for the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative.
   • Identified funding needs will be shared with the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative.
   • Members of the 3Rs Collaborative may not vote on prioritizing funding needs in which
       they have a conflict of interest.

Both the Governance Plan and The Accountability Plan will be completed in 2010.

Work to date on the Accountability Plan includes consideration of indicators, and potential
performance measures.

Performance Management:

As indicated earlier in the plan, the 3Rs selected the following five headline indicators:
    • % of children aged birth to 15 months receiving all well child visits
    • % of children who pass all components of the Physical Fitness Test
    • % of children assessed as “ready” by the Kindergarten Entrance Inventory
    • % of students at the proficient level on the 3rd grade CMT

Program performance measures are not yet fully developed; however three have been identified
so far as priorities. The 3Rs will convene all potential partners to create appropriate program
performance measures or utilize existing performance measures created by state agencies. This
will be done to cultivate commitment and buy-in. We will utilize the RBA framework to ask:
    • How much was done?
    • How well was it done?
    • Is anyone better off?


The following performance measures are of interest and priority for the next two years:


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       51
    1. The number of families who are in the Ages and Stages program, measuring how aware
       families are about accessing information about child development and the extent that
       families are accessing developmental information about their child.
    2. The capacity of mental and behavioral health providers to serve young children and a
       diversity of children, as measured by the number of mental and behavioral health staff
       who are bi- or multi-cultural/lingual.
    3. The number of children who register for kindergarten on time, measuring how successful
       the community is in getting information to parents, and providing the opportunity to get
       more information from parents about their child which can help when the child enters
       school.

Other possible examples of program performance measures:

Curriculum continuity between preschool and kindergarten:
  • # of preschool and kindergarten teachers trained (how much did we do?)
  • % who attended all training sessions (how well did we do it?)
  • % of preschool or kindergarten teachers who alter their curriculum in some way due to
      the new knowledge learned (is anyone better off?)
  • % of preschool teachers who use the Preschool Assessment Framework child profile
      during parent teacher conferences (is anyone better off?)

Public knowledge about the importance of the early years:
   • # of materials distributed in the community (how much did we do?)
   • % of materials distributed in conjunction with training or through a support program
       (how well did we do it?)
   • % of children enrolled in preschool (is anyone better off?)
   • % of parents who report reading to their children on a consistent basis (is anyone better
       off?)

Early Literacy:
A measure of Latino parents who are equipped to provide early learning at home, as
Latinos/Hispanics represent a large population that does not fare as well in school. There is the
Parent Literacy Center as a partner and a sustainability team established that could be coordinate
and join forces to provide performance measures.

As cross program system measures, Danbury will focus on the following:
   • % of child care spaces that are of high quality (NAEYC accredited)
   • % of children who have had a developmental screening


System Development Measures: The New 3Rs needs some measures to determine how well our
collaborative is building and maintaining a more effective service delivery system for young
children. For the upcoming year, we will focus on the area of community engagement and will
measure the following:
     Number of organizations participating in the New 3Rs
     Number of participants/organizations that have signed a statement of commitment


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                      52
In addition, we will look at the following as secondary indicators to help us analyze the
outcomes for Danbury’s youngest children:

Secondary indicators:
    % and / or number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect
    ER visits as % of population (as reported in the Community Report Card)
    % of bilingual/bicultural mental health providers in Danbury
    % of children determined to be overweight/obese by BMI criteria
    % of child care slots for children aged birth to five that are subsidized (to include
      Head Start, School Readiness, and DSS funded slots)
    % of children chronically absent in the kindergarten year
    % of children tardy in the kindergarten year
    % of full day kindergarten slots
    % of kindergarten children registered on time for kindergarten


Data Development:

There are data that are not currently available but would enhance our ability to analyze the
outcomes for young children in our community and our efforts at improving outcomes. Below
are some data elements that our community would like to see:
           % of parents that read to their child on a consistent basis
           % of parents that participate in a parenting education program
           % of children who do not have any health insurance
           % of pediatricians who conduct some type of developmental screen on each child
           % of number of families using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire
           % of parents who participate in at least one parent-teacher conference each year


Organizational Commitments:

As we move toward implementation, we will begin the process of getting written commitments,
first from the members of our various work teams and Collaborative. We will include basic
information to help formally solidify the commitment to this effort on behalf of Danbury’s
young children. For example:

I agree to participate in the 3Rs community decision making process. I will assist in gathering
data or obtaining resources as appropriate and will contribute my expertise to help ensure that
“all Danbury children aged birth through eight are healthy and ready for school and lifelong
learning.”

As we implement components of the plan, the New 3Rs will encourage the development of
written agreements with applicable partners. Each would be individualized depending on the
activity and involvement level of the agency. For example:
    • Use group-developed performance measures


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   53
    •    Share data and in what timeframe
    •    Participate in cross program system measures
    •    Utilize common referral protocols


Infrastructure Supports:

The 3Rs plans to hire one full- time paid staff position with a salary and expenses of
approximately $62,000. This does not include the in-kind costs of space, telephone, copies, etc.,
provided by the Collaborative Sponsor. It is imperative that some level of paid staffing exist;
the community strongly believes that eliminating this infrastructure would be detrimental to
potential progress. The Co-Chairs of Focus Area Teams commit a significant number of in-kind
hours each month to this work. The 3Rs could seek financial support for the agencies that
employ them to enable continued leadership in this Collaborative.

Orienting New Members:
In order for new members to participate fully in the strategic planning process, effective
orientation is required. The 3Rs will use a minimum of 3 out of the following strategies for
orienting new members:
        • Distribution of appropriate documents such as:
                 o 3Rs Organizational Overview
                 o 3Rs History
                 o Focus Area Team Action Plans
                 o Danbury community data
        • One-on-one meetings conducted by a experienced member to explain the New 3Rs
            initiative and the Focus Area Teams
        • Group sessions (orienting several new members at one time)
        • Preparing a new member for participation in a meeting by giving specific information
            about the purpose, the format, and the goals of the particular meeting
        • Pairing a new member with a seasoned member at a meeting to explain the discussion
        • Telephone or email contact after a meeting from a seasoned member to answer
            questions or explain what is unclear
        • Distribute copies of minutes from previous meetings
        • Distribute contact information for the 3Rs (Staff, Collaborative Co Chairs, Focus
            Area Team Co-Chairs, etc.)
        • Distribute media articles about the 3Rs or articles relevant to the work
    In order for new members to feel comfortable, it is important that introductions are made at
    the start of every meeting (and name tags or name plates are used as often as possible), new
    members are acknowledged and welcomed personally, and it is stated that questions and
    input are valued. The individuals most likely to be involved with the orientation process are
    the staff and the Focus Area Team Co-Chairs.

Protocols for Effective Meetings:
Effective meetings help to ensure that work happens efficiently and in a manner that reflects the
values of the 3Rs Collaborative. While each group of the 3Rs needs to determine the exact
formula for their meetings’ success, the following protocols can be considered:


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     54
         •   Start and end meetings on time.
         •   Prepare for meetings:
                 o Create an agenda and distribute it ahead of time to members
                 o Be realistic about what can be accomplished in the time provided
                 o Come prepared: if tasks were assigned at the previous meeting, ensure that
                     they are completed and ready to be reported on
                 o If minutes were sent ahead of time, read through them prior to the meeting
         •   Ensure that introductions take place and new members are welcomed to the group.
         •   If decisions need to be made, ensure that members have all the necessary information
             to make those decisions.
         •   Assign roles such as facilitator, writer of minutes, timekeeper, etc. as needed.
         •   Use the following ground rules
                 o One person speaks at a time
                 o Respect differences of opinion
                 o Use the “Parking Lot’ strategy to address items that are best discussed at
                     another time/place
                 o ELMO (“Enough, let’s move on”) can be stated when a issue is already
                     discussed fully and you need to move to another item
                 o OUCH can be stated when someone makes a comment that was inadvertently
                     insulting or derogatory
         •   Be aware of organizational protocols/policies that have already been established (i.e.
             protocols for making decisions).
         •   Distribute meeting minutes in a timely manner.
         •   Use, or bring in, appropriate expertise to ensure effective dialogue.

It is important that the culture of 3Rs meetings:
        • Welcomes all viewpoints
        • Embraces a wide scope of stakeholders
        • Seeks to build consensus amongst members
        • Continually works to achieve the vision that All Children Are Ready for School

Parent and Community Engagement:

The 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative is exploring the options to increase parental and
community engagement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the work. Ideas that
have emerged to date are (1) to have advisory committees of parents, state agencies and
businesses; and/or (2) to ensure that each of these groups are engaged in various aspects of teams
and committees. The 3Rs Collaborative is mindful of the diversity of the Danbury community
and seeks to fully represent the diversity of perspectives in every strategic area of the plan.

The 3Rs intends to publish data on an annual basis. Special outreach would be conducted to the
following groups to ensure they receive and understand the data:
    • Participants of the 3Rs
    • School Readiness Council members
    • Danbury Board of Education
    • Danbury Citywide PTO


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                       55
    •    Danbury Common Council members
    •    Head Start Policy Council
    •    MOMS Club-South

This information (or a summary thereof) can be included in an issue of the Parent to Parent
Newsletter created by Danbury Children First, distributed to all families in each elementary
school. The 3Rs can also explore partnering with the Community Report Card developed by
Western Connecticut State University, Danbury Hospital, and the United Way of Western
Connecticut. This report, however, is regional in scope and not Danbury specific.

A Communications Plan will be completed by December 31, 2010 to address both internal and
external communications.

Communication Strategies include:
    • The staff will be informed of all upcoming 3Rs meetings.
    • Written minutes will be kept from all New 3Rs meetings (3Rs Early Childhood
       Collaborative, Steering Committee, Focus Area Teams), including attendance
       information (name, affiliation, address), and these will be submitted to the staff in a
       timely manner.
    • The staff will provide written documentation to the 3Rs Early Childhood
       Collaborative on an ongoing basis.
    • Focus Area Team Co-chairs will report monthly to the Steering Committee.
    • The staff will connect to various media to provide updates to the community.




Appendix C: Financing
The financial climate in Connecticut and throughout the country is challenged. As our
community moves towards implementation, we find the environment we are facing is nothing
like the climate we expected when we began this work. Nevertheless, financial support is only
one support that will “turn the curve.” A spirit of collective passion and commitment are key



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   56
  resources. The 3Rs will seek funds from a variety of sources including: local, state, federal,
  private/foundation, and in-kind.

  The information on the following pages is our community’s current assessment of the financial
  landscape for early childhood. As we determine priority areas for implementation, we need to:

       •   Continually refine our working knowledge of existing financial resources
       •   Continue to cultivate collaborative relationships to encourage resource sharing
       •   Seek additional funds not currently in our community
       •   Examine cost/benefit analysis of services and supports as they relate to the community
           plan and the impact on children
       •   Ensure the efficient and effective alignment of funds to the “turn-the-curve strategies and
           actions”

  The following data was prepared by Holt, Wexler, and Farnam, LLP for the Graustein Memorial
  Fund.
  Danbury Funding Summary: Fiscal Year 2005-2006 *

Type of Program             Federal      Federal/    State     Philan-  Grand Total
                                         State                 thropic
Child Welfare                             $2,785,267                      $2,785,267
Early Care and                $1,754,406 $3,268,994 $1,816,446 $181,772   $7,021,618
Education
Early Literacy                  $194,000                                                 $194,000
Family Support                                  $1,193,168     $223,111                $1,416,279
Health                        $1,893,112        $6,966,963     $269,871                $9,129,946
Health –Behavioral                                $396,367       $5,895                  $402,262
K-3 Education                 $1,578,946                     $7,625,521                $9,204,467
Parent Engagement                                               $20,000    $115,000      $135,000
Youth Development                                               $18,818                   $18,818
Youth Development –              $56,282                                                  $56,282
After School
Advocacy                                                                   $121,000      $121,000

Grand Total                 $5,476,746         $14,610,759   $9,979,662   $417,772*   $30,484,938

  *In addition to the information listed above, the philanthropic community contributes more than
  $440,000 to the Greater Danbury community to these types of programs.

  New and current investments and potential opportunities:

  The following list depicts three new major current financial opportunities that the 3Rs can
  support implementation of the plan. It is hoped that our community will recognize the 3Rs as an
  entity that promotes collaboration and analyzes effective use of resources to benefit young
  children and families.



  Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                        57
    •    Parent Literacy Center Grant: The Danbury Public Schools received a $263,000
         federal grant for a Parent Literacy Center that is planned to open in March 2010. This
         new program/service for Danbury will impact our identified strategy entitled: Increase
         parent’s knowledge about developmental milestones, early literacy, socio-emotional
         development, health, and oral health. In addition the former Danbury Discovery/Parent
         Resource Initiative’s Parent Advisory Board is continuing their exploration of the
         feasibility of a Parent Resource Center, and long term will help to support this strategy.
         The 3Rs can help to link these two initiatives so available resources are maximized.
    •    Early Head Start: A new Early Head Start program has recently been approved for
         federal funding and hiring has started for staff, expanding the support and quality
         childcare available to families with infants and toddlers.
    •    Fatherhood Initiative: ARRA funds of $150,000 were approved for a Fatherhood
         Initiative for 2010 that includes parenting, support and information services to parents,
         with some programming provided in Spanish.

Parenting that Supports Healthy Development and Early Learning Strategic Area

The Focus Team for strategic area, Parenting that Supports Health Development and Early
Learning through meetings with, and surveys of family support system providers have identified
the following existing resources, which are outlined in detail in the Appendix following this
section. Details are provided below on the existing resources, funding needs identified and
progress to date on identifying potential resources. Please note that not all family support
providers offered all the funding information requested; however, a substantial amount of
information was collected from the family support system. The Family Support System as
defined by the 3Rs Early Childhood Collaborative has identified the following categories of
Family Support:

     Home and Personal Visits
     Information to Parents (Information about parenting and the resources/services that are
      available.)
     Parenting Education Classes
     Early Literacy (Parent education about early literacy)
     Playgroups/Parent-Child Activity Groups
     Support for Parents

Family Support System providers in each of these categories had opportunity to provide
information on their services and financing. The detailed schedule of information that was
shared is in the Appendix following this section. The table that follows shows the current level
of resources identified in the Family Support System is about $3.0 million, and this does not
include Head Start, because their financing of support services could not be broken out at this
time by Family Support Category. nor does it include the new Early Head Start resources. The
table below shows about $3.0 million is existing resources for the Danbury Family Support
System, with another $0.7 million that is either applied for or approved from federal sources.

                           Financing Plan as of February 26, 2010 for
               Parenting that Supports Healthy Development and Early Learning


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                      58
Family Support Category                                     Total Current      Funding Needs           Amounts
                                                            Annual             Identified to           Applied
                                                            Resources          Implement               For/ or
                                                            Financing          Strategies, over        Requested
                                                            Family             2 years                 &
                                                            Support                                    Approved
                                                            Services
Home and Personal Visits                                       $2,011,135
(Does not include Head Start resources serving 375
parents and 387 children)
                                                                               No cost to hold
                                                                               meetings, other than
Develop a collaborative table of home visiting
                                                                               the staff person, the
providers from across all strategic areas of this early
                                                                               Collaborative
childhood plan to:
                                                                               Facilitator.
Identify and describe all home visit programs in detail
                                                                               No cost- use existing
for provider, community and parents’ use in
                                                                               informational
understanding the availability of home visiting services.
                                                                               sources, like the
Raise public awareness of the importance of home                               media, and
visits to parents of young children, to support the                            newsletters and
child’s health, care, early literacy, and                                      other publications
connection/referrals to other services as appropriate.                         that can incorporate
                                                                               these messages.

Expand home visiting services to families of children                                   $184,000
ages, birth to eight years old, to support parents in
their roles as first nurturers, role models and teachers,
and to prevent child abuse and neglect for those at
risk. Home visiting is a best practice to reach families
with very young children. Families will receive
information, coaching, referrals, parenting and child
development information, and a listening ear. Services
will be culturally and linguistically responsive, an
important element in the Danbury community which
has the largest percent of foreign born residents as a
percent of population in Connecticut. Attention will be
paid to helping families whose children have social,
emotional or behavioral needs, mothers with
depression, and those on wait lists who are at risk for
child abuse and neglect.

Funding Request to the U.S. Department of                                                                $184,000
Health and Human Services:

Funding will also support more home visits to
infants and toddlers through a new Early
Head Start program, which is not able to
separate home visits funding from total grant

Family Support Category                                     Total Current      Funding Needs           Amounts
                                                            Annual Resources   Identified to           Applied For/
                                                            Financing Family   Implement Strategies,   Or Requested
                                                            Support Services   over 2 years            & Approved
Information to Parents:                                           $135,776
Information about parenting and the


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                                       59
resources/services that are available
(Does not include Head Start resources serving 375
parents and 387 children)

Expand the capacity of the family support system to                                       $26,000
deliver information and referrals on the full range of
services available to families. This would include:
     •    Professional development to orient and
          familiarize service providers about all
          elements of the Danbury Early Childhood
          System that includes the family support
          system services, health system services,
          educational resources, and early care/
          childcare.
Funding Request to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services:                                                                                 $26,000

Develop, and made widely accessible, a                                                    $26,000
comprehensive directory of services for all services in                        Also use redeployed
the family support system which include Home Visits,                           resources: Use
Parent Education, Parent Information,                                          existing Quality
Playgroups/Parent-Child Activity Groups, Early                                 Enhancement Funds
Literacy, Parent Support, and Health Services.                                 for education; use
Funding Request to the U.S. Department of                                      existing information
Health and Human Services:
                                                                               services like the           $26,000
                                                                               Parent to Parent
                                                                               Newsletter & media
                                                                               to raise awareness

ASQ Strategy Components:
                                                                                          $32,000
Link families to the Ages and Stages Questionnaire
(ASQ), by educating providers, parents, and informal
community leaders and cultural brokers, about ASQ
and how families can access and raising awareness
among parents and in the community about the tool.

Expand the use of developmental screening of young
children in order to identify any health or social-
emotional issues to ensure that parents, in partnership
with providers, can provide the best intervention
services to address the well-being of the children. This
will include (1) More awareness of the Ages and
Stages tool, a best practice and family-friendly,
developmental screening tool for use by parents of
children up to age five, (2) Coordination among family
support providers and providers from other community
sectors to introduce the tool to parents and follow-up to
ensure its maximum use, and the (3) development of a
data collection system in Danbury to track the children
who have a developmental screening.
                                                                                                           $32,000
Funding Request to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services:                                                     Use Discovery funds
                                                                                        that pay for
Track and report the number of families that use ASQ                             Collaborative Staff
Family Support Category                                     Total Current      Funding Needs           Amounts
                                                            Annual Resources   Identified to           Applied For/
                                                            Financing Family   Implement Strategies,   Or Requested
                                                            Support Services   over 2 years            and Approved
Parenting Education Classes                                       $374,860



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                                       60
                                                                                                       150,000             150,000
ARRA funds have just been received to the
Community Action Committee of Danbury for a
Fatherhood Initiative supporting parent education for
fathers, including Spanish-speaking fathers
Early Literacy:
Parent education about early literacy                                       $59,545
Develop early literacy programs for all parents so that
                                                                                          Sources to include:
they understand how to support early learning at
                                                                                          Foundation grants;
home, through coordination and partnership of those
                                                                                          Business sector
involved in early literacy services.
                                                                                          contributions;United
Work to imbed early literacy into the family support                                      Way grants; books,
delivery system, health system, and early care and                                        inkind facilities,
education system, by providing professional                                               training of facilitators
development to staff working with families of young                                       offered by the State.
children.

Offer at least two 6-week Lee y serás early literacy                                                     32,000
programs for Latino parents each year, serving at least
30 families each year and impacting 40 Latino children                                        To ensure two 6-
ages from infants to five years old. Over time, at least                                      week Lee y serás
four offered would have greater impact on Latino                                            programs / per year
children’s readiness for school.

Parent Literacy Center (opening March 2010, funded
                                                                            131,500                    263,000             263,000
for two years)
Playgroups/Parent-Child Activity Groups                                               0
(This category did not have many respondents.)

Provide facilitation and resources to support
playgroups and parent-child activity groups, which are                                                 $32,000
largely provided by volunteers. This would include                                                  Inkind use of
providing information and resources about the services                                         facilities, existing
available to their families, helping them with their                                       information services
challenges around facilities and transportation, and                                                    directed to
providing the facilitators of these groups who are                                           playgroups/parent-
mostly parent leaders, with training and education in                                       child activity groups
fields of family support, health and fitness.

Funding Request to the U.S. Department of
                                                                                                                           $32,000
Health and Human Services:
Support for Parents                                                       $250,600
(Does not include Head Start resources serving 375
parents and 387 children)

Parent Center Planning: Continue to research                                              Volunteers: No cost.
potential sites and sources of capital and operating                                           Use existing
revenue for a Danbury Parent Center                                                       resources for parent
                                                                                             leader support.
Total Resources Financing Family                                    $2,963,416+                     $745,000            $713,000
Support*
*Head Start revenues for Family Support services are not included in the total as the Head Start program could not separate out the
Support Service revenue from that of the childcare services. Head Start provides Family Support including home visits to every
family, information to parents, parent education, and support with the Family Partnership Agreements. Head Start serves 375
parents and their 387 children under six years of age, and these numbers are included above in more than one category. There will
soon be an increase in the families served as Head Start is the recipient of a new federal grant for services to infants and toddlers.
Actions in support of the Parenting strategic area that are no cost or low cost include:
     1. Develop a speakers bureau on early childhood education topics for families


Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                                                         61
    2. Plan and deliver a schedule of articles on early childhood development topics for
       newspapers to publish, faith based groups to include in their bulletins, businesses to
       distribute via their Human Resource departments, etc.

Health Awareness and Actions Strategic Area

The Financing Plan will be completed in 2010.
Strategies incorporated into the implementation plan for the next two years include:
    1. Increase knowledge about health resources in the community and the differentiation
        between various resources
    2. Educate families on the top 5-7 health, behavioral health, and oral health topics and
        corresponding resources
    3. Increase home visits to families with young children with social/emotional/behavioral
        needs, including those of multicultural backgrounds
Strategies and activities identified as low or no cost in the Health Awareness and Actions
Strategic Area are:
    1. Increase awareness of both ob/gyns and pediatricians on maternal depression through
        grand rounds
    2. Enhance PAL (Police Athletics League) playgroup with hands-on education for families
        about physical activities
    3. Provide training to early childhood providers of all types on the importance of physical
        activity and ways to include it in the children’s day
    4. Create Outreach Worker Positions
    Purpose: To ensure all families have access to information and resources on health,
    behavioral health, and oral health topics)
    20 hours per week x $20 per hour= $400 per week x 40 weeks= $16,000 per year

Readiness for School Strategic Area

The Financing Plan will be completed in 2010.
School Readiness Quality Enhancement (QE) Funds: If there is level funding in the amount
of $42,000 for 2009-2010, QE funds can be aligned with strategies/substrategies/actions set forth
in our plan. Traditionally, these funds are used to provide free training to Danbury early care
and education providers to fulfill their Department of Public Health requirement for ongoing
professional development. Parents are also invited to attend. The training topics will be aligned
with our strategic plan. In addition, Danbury’s 3Rs Early Childhood Plan identified the need for
training and support in the following areas and QE can be earmarked as appropriate:
            o Support to get family, friend, and neighbor care providers licensed
            o Reinitiating the National Association of Family Child Care Accreditation support
               system

Early Childhood Professional Development: EDUCATION CONNECTION offers early
childhood provider training each year throughout their region (Greater Danbury/Litchfield



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                     62
County) at a cost that is reasonable for staff. For the 2009-2010 program year, their anticipated
offerings include the following topics with a cross reference to 3Rs strategy/substrategies:

Training Topic                     New 3Rs Strategy/Substrategy
Community Resources                Ensure all families have access to information and resources
                                   on health, behavioral health, and oral health topics.
                                   Encourage collaboration and improved networking/service
                                   coordination among providers in the disciplines
Moving those Muscles:              Prevent/reduce childhood obesity. Increase opportunities
Motor Skills                       for children to be physically active
Assessment in Early                Ensure all child care providers are of high quality. Increase
Childhood (four-hour               training of all types to all provider types. Increase the
training to fulfill NAEYC          number of center based teachers who effectively use the
requirements)                      State Department of Education’s Preschool Curricular
                                   Framework and Preschool Assessment Framework
Special Needs in Early             Ensure all child care providers are of high quality. Increase
Childhood (four-hour               the number of accredited centers.
training to fulfill NAEYC
requirements)

Actions in support of this strategic area that are no cost or low cost include:

    1. Increase the number of all provider types who have been trained on the state’s Early
       Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers
    2. Contact the local media about the need for more affordable child care/preschool and full
       day kindergarten slots


Ready Schools Strategic Area

The Financing Plan will be completed in 2010.

There are two strategies identified for implementation over the next two years at this time.

Ensure Continuity of Curriculum between PreK           Resources to be used and secured
and Kindergarten
Utilize a consultant to do a curriculum assessment     To support development of a crosswalk and
and crosswalk, consulting and meeting with             implement it in Danbury with early care providers
kindergarten and preschool teachers, and develop a     and the Danbury Public School District a request of
document for use by Pre K and Kindergarten             $53,000 has been made to the U.S. Department of
teachers, and family day care providers.               Education our of FY 2011 Appropriations.




Support Family-Friendly Schools through the            Resources to be used and secured



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                             63
Action Steps:
Provide interpreters for kindergarten registration    $2,500 for interpreters, 2 for 8 hours each. Or find
                                                      qualified volunteers who are willing to help.

Provide two parent-teacher conferences in the         Cost of interpreters provided through the ESL
elementary schools, and track parent participation.   Reception Center or qualified volunteers who are
Provide interpreters as needed.                       willing to help.


Opportunities for support that will continue to be pursued:
    •    ARRA: Chairs of the three Focus Area Teams and the 3Rs Coordinator met with the
         Danbury Public Schools Superintendent to present components of the early childhood
         strategic plan that might be appropriate for ARRA funds. We continue to advocate for
         these funds.
    •    ARRA Planning Grant: The 3Rs applied and received a “Ready Kids, Ready Schools,
         Ready Communities Opportunities Planning Grant” through the Communications
         Consortium Media Center in cooperation with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. These
         funds, in the amount of $10,000. Grant applications will continue to be submitted.
    •    Business Financial Support: During the previous year, Cartus Corporation (one of the
         five largest corporations in Danbury) donated conference space and a continental
         breakfast so that EDUCATION CONNECTION could bring in a national speaker on
         early childhood/early elementary math.        This in-kind contribution represents
         approximately $1,500. This successful business partnership will be cultivated to become
         a yearly event.
    •    Connecticut SDE/Graustein Collaborative: The 3Rs will seek funding from the
         existing collaborative partnership of the State Department of Education and the Graustein
         Memorial Fund, when it may become available.


Infrastructure

The collaborative recognizes that maintaining or expanding the infrastructure is a high priority to
keep momentum going and continue the work that has been started. At least $62,000 is needed
just for salary and expenses (insurance, FICA, etc) of one full-time staff position. Our 3Rs Early
Childhood Collaborative will help us find funding opportunities to include businesses, banks,
state departments, philanthropic agencies, etc.

This infrastructure is crucial to our ability to:
   • Seek out additional resources (both financial and otherwise)
   • Analyze existing resources, and finish the Financing Plans for all Strategic Areas
   • Coordinate the implementation of substrategies and actions
   • Develop the relationships needed to cultivate data and information sharing




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                              64
    •    Organize data for accountability purposes, including producing a data reporting system
         and developing some of the data elements that are a high priority and can be cost
         effectively developed.
    •    Develop the Accountability Plan and Memorandums of Agreement to make clear the
         roles and responsibilities of partners in implementation of strategies and systems
         development.

The United Way of Western Connecticut is providing $12,500 in resources to support the
Infrastructure by providing benefits to the full time staff person, and the Danbury Public School
District is providing $12,500 in redeployed staff to work on data development and the early
literacy component of the Family Support System.




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                    65
Appendix D: Potential Community Partners

Health Awareness and Actions

Partner                                      Strategies
                                                          Access to     Prevent   Increase Access to
                                             Behavioral   Info and      /Reduce   Health Services for
                                             Health       Resources     Obesity   the
                                                          for Parents             Insured/Uninsured
WIC                                               X             X          X               X
MCCA (Midwestern CT                               X             X                          X
Council on Alcoholism)
Pediatric Health Center                           X            X           X               X
(Danbury Hospital)
Danbury Children’s First                                       X                           X
Mom’s Club                                                     X
Catholic Charities                                X            X                           X
Family and Children’s Aid                         X            X           ?               X
Center for Children and                           X            X           X               X
Adolescent Treatment (CCATS)
CCBH                                              X            X           ?               X
MHAC                                              X            X           ?               X
DMHAS                                             X            X           ?               X
EDUCATION CONNECTION                              X            X           X               X
Families Network                                  X            X           ?               X
Coalition for Healthy Kids                                                 X
YMCA                                                           X           X               X
Family Focus Partnership                          X            X           ?               X
Danbury Youth Services                            X            X           X
Parks and Rec Department                                                   X
Community Health Center, Inc.                     X            X           X               X
Good Samaritan Center (JP)                        X            X           X               X
Danbury Public Schools                            X            X           X               X
Head Start/CT Institute for                       ?x           X           X               X
Communities
Danbury VNA                                       X            X           X               X
Danbury Hospital Diabetes                         X            X           X               X
Clinic
Danbury Hospital Fitness                          X            X           X               X
Program
Danbury Regional Child                            X            X                           X
Advocacy Center
Help Me Grow                                                   X
DCF (through FCA)                                 X            X                           X



Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                        66
Parenting that Supports Healthy Development and Early Learning
                                             Increase   Parent       Increase    Increase
                                             Home       Resource     Parent      Public
                                             and        Initiative   Knowledge   Awareness
Potential Partners                           Personal
                                             Visits
Danbury Children First                                  X            X           X
CT Parent Advocacy Center                               X            X           X
Child Development Infoline (ASQ)                        X            X           X
Family Resource Centers                      X          X            X           X
Danbury Public Library                                  X            X           X
Families Network of Western CT               X          X            X           X
Danbury Public Schools                                  X            X           X
Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury                      X            X           X
2-1-1 Infoline                                          X            X           X
Sped Net                                                X            X
United Way of Western CT                                X            X           X
Catholic Charities                                      X            X           X
Danbury Hospital                             X          X            X           X
Danbury Reg. Child Advocacy Center           X          X            X           X
Danbury Special Education PTA                           X            X
WeCAHR (Western CT Association for                      X            X           X
Human Rights)
EDUCATION CONNECTION                         X          X            X           X
Danbury Down Syndrome Support Group                     X            X
Latino Moms of Danbury                                  X            X
Community Health Center, Inc.                           X            X           X
CT Family Support Network: NW Region                    X            X
Danbury Area Autism Spectrum Parent                     X            X
Group
The Early Care and Education Training                   X            X           X
Institute
Family and Children’s Aid                    X          X            X           X
Head Start of Northern Fairfield County      X          X            X           X
NW CT Regional Medical Home Initiative                  X            X
for Children and Youth with Special Care
Needs
Birth to Three Programs                      X          X            X           X
Help Me Grow                                            X            X           X
Even Start                                              X            X
Faith Based Organizations                               X            X
Businesses                                              X            X           X
Local Media                                             X            X           X




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                   67
Readiness For School

                                                 Ensure All Child Care     Increase Supply of
Potential Partner                                Providers Are of High     Affordable Child
                                                 Quality                   Care
Licensed Child Care (Centers, Family             X                         X
Child Care Homes, and Group Homes)
Kith and Kin Providers                           X                         X
License-exempt Providers                         X                         X
EDUCATION CONNECTION                             X                         X
The Early Care and Education Training            X                         X
Institute
Family Resource Centers                          X                         X
2-1-1 Child Care                                 X
Connecticut Charts-a-Course                      X
Accreditation Facilitation Project               X
Danbury Children First                           X                         X
Early Childhood Consultation                     X
Partnership
State Education Resource Center (SERC)           X
Supplemental Child Care Services                 X
State Department of Education                    X                         X
Danbury School Readiness Council                 X                         X
Charter Oak on-line courses                      X
Local Colleges/Universities                      X
WeCAHR (Western CT Association for               X
Human Rights)
Local Legislators                                X                         X
Local Media                                                                X


Early School Success
                                             Ensure Continuity   Ensure that    Increase Full
Potential Partners                           of Curriculum       Schools are    Day
                                             Between PreK and    “Family        Kindergarten
                                             K                   Friendly”
Danbury Public Schools                       X                   X              X
Private/Parochial Schools                    X                   X              X
Child Care Providers                         X                   X
Local Colleges/Universities                  X                   X
Local Legislators                                                               X
Local Media                                                                     X
Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury                               X




Danbury 3Rs Strategic Plan / February 2010                                                      68

								
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