June 2013 Newsletter
In This Issue
Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries
Upcoming Meetings
Links of Interest
Spark New Hampshire's website is www.sparknh.org.  Visit it today for up-to-date information about the great work Spark NH is doing to improve early childhood in New Hampshire!
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Director Laura Milliken at lmilliken@sparknh.org
Spark NH 
2 Delta Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 226-7900
Fax: (603) 226-7290
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Dear Friend of Spark New Hampshire, 


On June 3, Spark NH held a stakeholder event to review the formal draft of New Hampshire's comprehensive strategic plan for early childhood.  Approximately 100 stakeholders from around the state and across sectors gathered at the Grappone Center in Concord to review each functional area of the plan.  Participants were excited to look at a cross-sector focus on expectant parents and children from birth through grade 3 and their families. 


In the morning there was rich discussion of the plan as participants broke into small groups and listened to each other's perspectives from early learning, health and family support.  Attendees shared their enthusiasm, concerns and suggestions.  At lunch we were joined by a distinguished panel of speakers: Steve Barba, Executive Director of University Relations in the Office of the President at Plymouth State University; Nicholas Toumpas, Commissioner of Health and Human Services; Deb Connell, Administrator of the Bureau of Integrated Programs at the Department of Education; and Tom Raffio, the CEO of Northeast Delta Dental.  All gave eloquent and animated comments about the critical importance of the early years and a coordinated system for early childhood. 


In the afternoon the stakeholders again split into smaller groups to discuss how best to implement the plan.  It was wonderful to experience the energy people brought to thinking about a coordinated system and how best to help young children and their families.  Over the summer, Spark NH committees will be working on incorporating suggestions and changes as well as working with the Office of the Governor,  DHHS and DOE to approve a final plan which will be released in September.


I am thrilled to announce that Spark NH now has a full time AmeriCorps VISTA member.  Emma Rafferty is a 2012 graduate of Eckerd College from Litchfield, NH.  She is working on keeping on top of  Spark NH website updates and social media, supporting the work of the committees, and otherwise providing huge help to me.  We feel very lucky to have her.  She will be with us until this July when she will be moving to her next opportunity.  We have hired Heather Rogers to replace Emma in July.  Heather will be with us until next summer.

 Respectfully submitted,


Laura Milliken,

Director, Spark NH


 "Alone we can do so little; together we can do

 so much."

- Helen Keller

Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries 



Communications and Public Awareness Committee - May 2, 2013
At the May 2nd meeting of the Communication and Public Awareness Committee the group worked on activities and steps for our section of the Strategic Plan. Jackie reported on a meeting of the Business and Industry Association/Economic Plan for the State of NH at which there was good early childhood representation. In fact, early childhood topics were included in the majority of final report-outs. There will be more meetings and we will continue to participate. The C & PA meeting ended with a discussion of the plan for banners and handouts. Lynn Davey is developing palm cards to explain the banners.


Quality Committee - May 3, 2013
The Quality Committee continued to focus on Strategic Planning, especially on completing the following sections: relationship to other activities, estimated date, benchmarks, and data sources for evaluating benchmarks. Detail from this work will be sent to the Policy Committee. 


Evaluation Committee - May 3, 2013
The Evaluation Committee reviewed the Spark NH Membership Survey and felt it was in the best interest to postpone the survey until the Fall.  Emma and Erin (with support provided by the Evaluation Consultant, Peter Antal) will prepare a narrative report for the Quality Committee's Professional and Parent Surveys.  Additionally, it may be helpful for members of the Quality Committee to review some of the open text responses from the professional/family surveys.  Initial review of the surveys provided additional direction for Peter's report.  The Committee also discussed the Spark NH Council Work Plan and Strategic Planning process.


Data Committee - May 6, 2013
The Data Committee discussed projects for which the ARRA funds designated for data integration could be used.  Due to time limitations, a small group will convene to make a final decision. The committee identified steps for the activities in the Data section of the Strategic Plan.  A virtual meeting will be held to discuss the draft Needs Assessment and formulate recommendations for revisions for CHI. 


Family Partnership and Engagement Task Force - May 8th, 2013
The committee discussed the parents' responses to the survey and focus groups.  One of the major barriers to accessing all services is the parents' lack of awareness about what programs are available to them. The committee discussed the 211 service and the possibility of promoting it more widely. Parents also find paperwork for services onerous. It would be helpful if parents could fill out something once and use it for multiple services. At the moment nothing special is planned for parents at the stakeholder meeting, but committees expressed interest in facilitating parent groups if there was interest.


Executive Committee - May 14, 2013
The committee made multiple changes in the Governance function area of the strategic plan. Dates were added to each activity and multiple items were reworded. Some language was changed to match the rest of the plan. The committee was given a budget update, which at the moment is on-track.  A sustainability update was given with news that a grant has been applied for with money for Spark NH. Contract paperwork for Project LAUNCH will be ready soon. Data integration with DHHS is not possible at this time, but a project may be possible with Coos county. An Early Learning Standards draft is ready.   Laura will receive a director's evaluation by the next executive committee meeting.


Policy Committee - May 14, 2013
A report on the upcoming June 3rd  stakeholder meeting was given.  The Commissioners of Health & Human Services and Education will speak at lunch.  The Policy Committee reviewed and revised the activities, outcomes and steps in their part of the comprehensive, coordinated strategic plan for early childhood in New Hampshire.  Ahead of the meeting, members were sent the Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework of the Alliance for Early Success, formerly the Birth to Five Policy Council.  The framework can be viewed at:
http://earlysuccess.org/our-work/policy-framework . The committee discussed the framework in context of the strategic planning process.   The committee next worked on the activities, outcomes and steps in the Funding  section of the draft.  A report on the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Federal Plan Task Force was given.



Upcoming Meetings 

Meetings are held at 2 Delta Drive in Concord NH unless otherwise noted.


June Meetings

Thursday, June 6, 10-12 ....................................Communications Committee Meeting, 

(and every 1st Thursday) *Held at Child

and Family Services, 103 North Main 

Street, Concord, NH

Friday, June 7,4.............................................   Evaluation Committee Meeting

(and every 1st Friday)


Monday, June 10, 2-4.......................................Data Committee (Usually every 1st



Tuesday, June 11, 8:30-11:00.................................Policy Committee (and every 2nd 

Tuesday) *Held at Child and Family Services


Tuesday, June 11, 11:30-1:30................................Executive Committee (and every 2nd Tuesday)


Wednesday, June 12, 1-3....................................Family Partnership and Engagement 

Task Force (and every 2nd Wed.)


Tuesday, June 18, 1-3.......................................Quality Committee (and every 3rd 



Wednesday, June 19, 9-11..................................CCDF Federal Plan Task Force (and 

every 3rd Wednesday)


Thursday, June 27, 9-11....................................Monthly Council Meeting (and every 4th 



Friday, June 28, 9-11........................................Workforce and Professional Development 

Committee meeting (and

every 4th Friday)


July Meetings


Monday, July 1 ............................................   Spark NH monthly budget report due to 



Monday, July 1, 2-4..........................................  Data Committee (usually every 1st 



Thursday July 11, 10-12.................................... Communications Committee (usually 

every 1st Thursday)


Friday, July 5, 2-4..........................................   Evaluation Committee (and every 1st 



Tuesday, July 9, 8:30-11..................................   Policy Committee (and every 2nd 



Tuesday, July 9, 11:30-1:30...............................Executive Committee (and every 2nd 



Wednesday, July 10, 1-3...................................  Family Partnership and Engagement 

Task Force (and every 2nd Wednesday)


Wednesday, July 16, 1-3....................................Quality Committee (and every 3rd 



Thursday, July 25, 9-11.................................... Monthly Council Meeting (and every 4th 



Friday, July 26, 9-11........................................Workforce and Professional Development 

Committee (and every 4th Friday)


Upcoming Events and Webinars


Annual Breastfeeding Conference: "Modern Women and Breastfeeding: Communication, Employment and Navigating our Fast Paced World" 

Monday, June 10 2013 7:15am-4:45pm 

NH Department of Health and Human Services  

Concord, NH 

$125 fee 

Contact Paula Oliveira 603-770-0089


Operation Military Kids Youth and Family Summer Camps


Bethlehem, NH

Fees vary

Contact omk.camps@unh.edu


NH Association for Infant Mental Health 19th Annual Conference

Trauma in Early Childhood: Intervention and Supporting Families

September 26th and 27th, 2013

The Mountain Club on Loon

Lincoln, NH

$130 for NHAIMH members, $150 for non-members

Contact Ellyn Schreiber eschreiber@communitybridgesnh.org



Other Announcements 


Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center Technology Survey - The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center) wants to tailor their communications, training, and support materials to match real-world communications media use and preferences of early childhood professionals.  They are asking providers to provide them with information about your use of digital communications media in your professional role. The survey takes about 5 minutes. 


Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) Notice of Proposed Priorities - The RTT-ELC Notices of Proposed Priorities is now posted. The last day to submit comments is June 19th. 



Links of Interest 


Early Learning in Your State -  The White House has released state-by-state fact sheets, outlining what states could expect to receive in federal funding to expand these early learning initiatives in their states. The President's proposal builds upon the strong work already done by states across the country.  The White House fact sheets explain how the President's plan will: provide high-quality preschool for all 4 year olds, invest in high-quality infant and toddler early learning and development and expand effective parent and family supports.


New Series of Articles on "Tackling Toxic Stress" -  The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University recently launched a new multi-part series of journalistic articles for the web entitled, Tackling Toxic Stress. The series examines how policymakers, researchers, and practitioners are re-thinking services for children and families based on the science of early childhood development and an understanding of the consequences of adverse early experiences and toxic stress. 


AAP Clinical Report on Early Identification and Evaluation of Motor Delay - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published a new clinical report in the journal, Pediatrics, entitled Motor Delays: Early Identification and Evaluation (published online May 27, 2013). The report outlines the procedures pediatricians should follow in screening children for delays in motor development at 9, 18, 30 and 48 months. A description of motor development skills that children should have at each specified age is included. 


Newly Updated QRIS State Contact Information and National QRIS Map - The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) National Learning Network recently released new QRIS state contact information and a QRIS national map containing the following information for each state: QRIS, QRIS Website, Implementing Agency, Contact Name/Email/Phone, and Alternate Contact Name/Email. The color key on the QRIS State Contacts spreadsheet and QRIS Map document classifies each state or territory as "Statewide QRIS launched," "Pilot QRIS launched and/or completed," "Regional QRIS launched," "Planning for a QRIS," or "Requires legislative action to implement a QRIS."


Disconnected Mothers and the Well-Being of Children: A Research Report -  The Urban Institute has published a new research report, Disconnected Mothers and the Well-Being of Children (May 2013), which discusses research related to low-income mothers who are disconnected from both work and welfare. The paper presents research findings on the major risks to children's development, the prevalence of those risks among disconnected families, and the potential consequences for children. It also describes a number of potential interventions to help disconnected families


Autism Speaks Launches "Maybe" Campaign to Reach African American and Hispanic Parents Autism Speaks recently launched a new series of public service advertisements in English and Spanish specifically designed to reach African American and Hispanic parents. According to research, children in these communities are often diagnosed later than the national average. The new "Maybe" campaign encourages parents to learn the early signs of autism and to contact their pediatrician if they have concerns. Autism Speaks also launched Early Access to Care, an initiative designed to lower the age of diagnosis in all communities. 


Children's Development Impacted By Parents' Unauthorized Immigrant StatusA new report from Migration Policy Institute (MPI) delves into the issue of how children are affected by a parent's unauthorized immigration status. Recent estimates show that 5.5 million US children live with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent - 4.5 million of these children are US-born.  About 8 percent of all US children, and about one-third of children of immigrant parents, live with an unauthorized immigrant parent. Recent research suggests that having an unauthorized immigrant parent is associated with negative developmental outcomes, such as lower cognitive skills in early childhood and higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescence.


The Effect of the Recession on Child Well-BeingWhen the economy takes a downturn, it often hits the most vulnerable children and families the hardest. The recent recession is no exception. In their paper, "The Effect of Recession on Child Well-Being: A Synthesis of the Evidence by PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia," Katherine Sell and colleagues at PolicyLab at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Research Institute synthesize evidence of the effects of the recent and prior recessions on child well-being.


More Progress Needed in State Requirements and Oversight of Childcare Center - Child Care Aware of America's fourth review of state child care center policies provides numerical scores for the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Department of Defense (DoD) on their key program requirements and oversight elements for child care centers.


Preschool Programs Faced Decreased Funding and Stalled Enrollment in 2012 - The State of Preschool 2012 released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) reported that nationally, investments by states in pre-kindergarten programs have declined dramatically, dropping by over half a billion dollars from 2011 to 2012 - the largest one year funding drop since NIEER began collecting data in the 2001-2002 school year.


Series on Importance of Home Language Offers Families and Teachers Guidance on Young Dual Language Learners' Development -  A new series of handouts from the Office of Head Start's National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness highlights the importance of home language in children's development. The handouts provide Head Start staff, families, and other caregivers information on topics relating to children learning two or more languages. The series covers: the benefits of being bilingual, the importance of maintaining home language, and the value of becoming bilingual. The series consists of four handouts, and they are available in both English and Spanish.
2013 Status Report Details Early Childhood State Advisory Councils' Activities - The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recently released a status report on the Early Childhood State Advisory Councils. The report offers background on the SAC grant, highlights some examples of how states have made progress across the seven required activities, provides examples of states going beyond the grant requirements, and offers individual state and territory profiles.
Center On the Developing Child Issues Brief Highlighting Importance of Early Childhood Mental Health - The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University recently released a brief that focuses on the science behind early childhood mental health. The report is part of their 'In Brief' series that summarizes findings from recent scientific research on early childhood. By better understanding how emotional well-being can be either improved or damaged in early childhood, policymakers, physicians, and providers of early care and education can work to promote the types of environments and experiences that prevent problems and address early difficulties to avoid long-term developmental damage. 
Low-Income Mothers of Young Children Experience High Rates of Depression - The Urban Institute's new brief looks at prevalence of major depression in mothers of young children, the extent to which mothers receive treatment, the relationship between health insurance and accessing treatment, and how mothers rate the effectiveness of their treatment. More low-income mothers with young children experience severe depression than higher-income mothers.
UNH MPH Candidates' Integrating Seminar: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health - Four UNH Masters of Public Health candidates compiled an excellent report for Spark NH on infant and early childhood mental health. The report and all its documents can by found on Spark NH's website under the Data Committee tab.