DTIRC Project Launch

Project Launch Upper Valley: Promoting a healthy start for young children and their caregivers

This project aims to increase our community’s ability to identify, engage and serve at-risk and trauma-affected families with evidence-based early intervention services, with an eventual goal of influencing early childhood policy and practice in Vermont and New Hampshire. We will achieve this goal through the practice of “meeting young children and families where they are,” whether it be the pediatrician’s office, school, child care center, or a caregiver’s place of work. The target population is children 0 to 8 and their caregivers in Grafton and Sullivan Counties in New Hampshire and Windsor County in Vermont, collectively, the “Upper Valley."

Many towns suffer from higher than average poverty and unemployment levels, and the targeted counties are in the midst of a devastating opioid crisis, with some of the highest rates in the country of infants born opiate-exposed. Numerous service sectors have observed an unprecedented increase in early childhood neglect and trauma and subsequent behavioral health needs of young children. For example, the number of children in out of home care has risen more than 50% since 2012, mostly accounted for by young children. Health, education and service providers are overwhelmed by the influx of needs in this population, and are unfamiliar with how to identify, triage and meet the behavioral health needs of young children.

Infographic explaining at-risk family program

Project Launch Upper Valley will focus activities at four tiered levels:

  • Tier 1: We will raise public awareness and decrease stigma for young children’s behavioral health needs via local businesses, radio ads, and social media campaigns (broadest, community-wide level).
  • Tier 2: Screening of children 0 to 8 and their caregivers in six primary care clinics, and providing trauma-informed care training to the workforce (for example, early education and care, health, BH).
  • Tier 3: Provide targeted supports to enhance engagement and increase access to care, and provide expert BH consultation for our professional workforce that serves young children and their caregivers.
  • Tier 4: Delivery of two evidence-based parenting interventions: Circle of Security and Helping the Noncompliant Child (most intensive tier).

Goals and measurable objectives

Our goal is to increase identification and access to care for at-risk and trauma-affected families and promote healthy development of children 0 to 8 by meeting in naturalistic settings (for example, primary care, early care and education, and caregiver workplace) through a tiered approach.

Our primary objectives are to:

  • Reach our community at large through a public awareness campaign with distribution of flyers, radio ads and social media posts; provide trauma-informed training to 300+ professionals and staff from health, behavioral health, education, and business sectors
  • Enhance screening, linkage, and referral systems across 6 primary care clinics (reaching ~8500 children; ~1000 Year 1)
  • Provide 600 + behavioral health consultations
  • Deliver Circle of Security and Helping the Non-Compliant Child to caregivers (235 for Circle of Security and 335 for Helping the Non-Compliant Child); and create a Young Child Wellness Council

Visit the Project Launch Facebook page.