January 2016 Newsletter
In This Issue
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 better coordinate early childhood programs and services in New Hampshire.
Get Involved!
If you are interested in being involved in Spark NH, please contact
Director Laura Milliken at lmilliken@sparknh.org
2 Delta Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 226-7900
Fax: (603) 226-7290
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,

Happy New Year friends!

Raising Public Awareness across NH

2015 was a productive year for public awareness about the importance of investment in early childhood. Spark NH and its ambassadors conducted 34 presentations of our research-based PowerPoint, "Children: the Bedrock of the Granite State," to audiences of over 800 leaders around New Hampshire.

Our banners have been seen by hundreds of people at events all over the state. Through collaboration with Save the Children Action Network and Early Learning NH we and our banners were at all the WMUR "Conversation with the Candidate" events and we were able to ask questions about early childhood to most presidential candidates. We also collaborated on the "Transforming Tomorrow's Workforce Today" early learning event in October (videos available on our website).

Finally, Spark NH closed out 2015 with an exciting press conference highlighting that our Governor and entire congressional delegation have taken the Spark NH pledge to New Hampshire's Children. Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen and Congresswoman Kuster participated in the event. Senator Ayotte sent a video and Congressman Guinta sent his staff person to read his letter. All expressed their support of a focus on the early years. The event was well covered by the media. Here is a link to the coverage on WMUR  and NH 1

Spark NH videotaped the event and will have that posted on our website in the near future. What a wonderful culmination of an exciting year for early childhood.

Respectfully submitted,
Laura Milliken, Esq.
Director, Spark NH
 "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
- Helen Keller
Regional Early Childhood Initiative Reports

Beginning this month, updates from the regional early childhood development initiatives participating in the Spark NH Community of Practice will be provided as a part of our newsletter.

You may remember that Spark NH received a grant from the Endowment for Health to support the creation of a Community of Practice among the directors regional, cross sector, early childhood initiatives in the state. These include Belknap County's Financial Stability Partnership- Early Childhood Workgroup, the Carroll County Early Childhood Coalition, the Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families, Impact Monadnock, Project LAUNCH Manchester, and the Early Childhood coordinators of the Safe Schools Healthy Students initiatives in Concord and Rochester. (The Laconia Safe Schools Healthy Students currently does not have an early childhood coordinator.)

Spark NH's mission is to provide leadership that promotes a comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable early childhood system that achieves positive outcomes for young children and families, investing in a solid future for the Granite State. A critical part of the work of Spark NH is to be the connector between all the great work being done for young children and families in the state and to highlight best practices. That is why I am so thrilled for you to be able to read about all the innovative work happening in these regional initiatives. As you learn more about the initiatives, I encourage you think about what collaborations and connections you can make with these groups and their work in the future. I continue to be excited and energized by their work and think you will be too.

Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries   

Quality Committee Meeting - October 20, 2015
The group discussed requesting project funds to hire a consultant to create a collaboration/coordination toolkit. They brainstormed what would be included in the toolkit. Debra or Kristin will submit request to Laura Milliken and, if Council approves the request, contact candidates to ascertain interest and availability to assume/complete a contract for this work. Amy Parece-Grogan attended and provided background for the race and equity evaluation of Spark NH. Each committee member will take 2-3 issues and prepare to share them with the group.
Workforce and Professional Development Committee Meeting -  October 23, 2015
The committee reviewed the progress in vetting the draft of Shared Professional Early Childhood Core Competencies (SPECCC) with stakeholders.  The committee would like as many professionals who provide professional development (pre and in-service) to review and give feedback on SPECCC.  We reviewed the WPD committee work plan and discussed completed activities as well as activities remaining.  In regards to cross-sector ECPDS Blueprint recommendations, the committee worked on prioritizing recommendations.  Debra Nelson shared findings of the Blueprint Financing Committee and the committee heard a report on SEE Change. 

Policy Committee Meeting - November 2, 2015
The Spark NH Policy Committee was pleased to be informed that the Office of the Governor approved their white paper on specific actions to accompany the "Framework for Action for New Hampshire's Young Children."  It will now be sent to the graphics designer to get ready for publication.  The committee discussed the formal release of the Framework and their ongoing role in the coordination and monitoring of the actions related to the Framework.  Updates were given on Spark NH's regional partnerships and the CCDF taskforce.  The meeting evaluations were positive.

Data Committee - November 2, 2015
Liz is seeking a co-chair for the committee. Peter gave an update on the Early Childhood Indicators and gave an overview of our process to date. The group reviewed the items identified by Peter and further discussed several of them. Amy Parece-Grogan presented on Equity and Race and let the group in an assessment. They also discussed the CLAS Standards. They discussed limitations around data related to language, race, and ethnicity.  A tool called "Me, My Race and I", done by PBS was shared. The committee also reviewed and updated their work plan.

Communications and Public Awareness Committee - November 5, 2015 
The 2-1-1 task force reported on their progress. Committee members discussed marketing this as a resource for community, providers and families. The 2-1-1 website was reviewed. The "Why We Care", "I Am a Promise," Pledge, and animated short videos were viewed and ways to use them in the community were brainstormed. The Endowment for Health provided an update on the launch of Raising of America and Raising New Hampshire. The list of upcoming Bedrock and Ambassador trainings was reviewed. Bedrock messaging continues to be successful and new opportunities to promote the presentation are welcome. 

Executive Committee - November 10, 2015
The Committee debriefed last Council meeting, approved committee summary, and drafted the December Council agenda.  Changes to the bylaws were proposed.  The
2016 budget was discussed.  The opportunity for NH to become the 27th Pyramid State was discussed and a small group will convene to brainstorm this further, followed by a reconvening of the larger group.  Other items included: scheduling a meeting with the Governor's office and the Commissioners; a letter of support for an Impact Monadnock Opportunity Grant; the Family Engagement Taskforce; Laura joining the Concord School District Full Day Kindergarten Committee; and the Governor's Office approval of the Framework for Action.  

Upcoming Meetings 

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

Monday, January 4th, 9:00-10:00amPolicy Committee 
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Monday, January 4th, 2:00-4:00pmData Committee
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Thursday, January 7th, 10:00-11:30amCommunications and Public Awareness Committee
(First Thursday of Every Other Month)
Tuesday, January 12th, 12:00-2:00pmExecutive Committee  
(2nd Tuesday of Every Month) 
Friday, January 22nd, 9:00-11:00amWorkforce and Professional Development Committee 
(4th Friday of Every Month)

Monday, February 1st, 9:00-10:30am  Policy Committee
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Monday, February 1st, 2:00-4:00pm
Data Committee 
(1st Monday of Every Month)
Friday, February 5th, 2:00-4:00pmEvaluation Committee 
1 Pillsbury St. Suite 310, Concord, NH, 03301
(Usually Every Other Odd Month) 
Tuesday, February 9th, 12:00-2:00pmExecutive Committee Meeting
(2nd Tuesday of Every Month) 
Friday, February 26, 9:00-11:00amWorkforce and Professional Development Committee Meeting  
(4th Friday of Every Month)

Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars
Visit the PORTAL at www.sparknh.org/portal to view upcoming events, workshops and webinars, and job postings available throughout the state!  
Links of Interest 

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study's founder, Vincent Felitti, makes connections between childhood trauma and sick adults in a short video. In this video, Felitti explains how children who experience trauma are more likely to use IV drugs, have an eating disorder, or attempt suicide. 

Initial Results Released for First Social Impact Bond for Early Childhood Education Show Success
The first "Pay for Success" or "Social Impact Bond" program was established in August 2013. Five hundred and ninety five low-income three and four year olds were able to attend high quality preschool. This fact sheet outlines the project, shares initial results, and highlights areas of future growth.

Together from the Start: Expanding Early Childhood Investments for Middle-Class and Low-Income Families
An issue brief from The Century Foundation investigates the benefits of early care and learning for working families. Policy priorities that address funding and increased access on both the state and federal levels are outlined. 

A Healthy Early Childhood Action Plan: Policies for a Lifetime of Well-being
The Trust for America's Health compiled a report of more than forty policy areas that related to reducing toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Three major policy areas include: "Build beyond the traditional health care system by integrating health and other social supports, including accountable health communities for children", "Promote protective, healthy communities and establish expert and technical assistance backbone support to help spread and scale programs nationally and in every state", and "Increase investments in core, effective early childhood policies and programs". The report explains, in depth, how to achieve those three stated recommendations. 

Compendium of Parenting Interventions 
The Compendium of Parenting Interventions is a collection of evidence based parenting interventions that can lend themselves effective when working with families of young children. The purpose of the compendium is to assist practitioners in choosing parent interventions that can be used to promote positive child outcomes. A Guidebook for Implementation accompanies the Compendium. The Guidebook was created to assist programs implement a parent intervention.

How the Syrian Refugee Crisis Hits Home for Me 
Van-Kim Bui Lin, a Child Trends research analyst, examines the effect of the Syrian Refugee crisis on the young Syrian children. Bui Lin's family evacuated Vietnam in 1975 and resettled in America. She shares the hardships her family faced and makes connections to today's refugee crisis. She investigates what can be done to mitigate the harmful effects of terrorism and how to support affected children. 

How to Scale Up Effective Programs Serving Youth, Children, and Families
Child Trends published a research brief on best practices for scaling up programs that serve youth, children, and families. Lessons learned from a variety of settings and sizes both in the United States and internationally are provided.  

 Thirty Million Words Initiative
The Thirty Million Words Initiative was designed using the 1995 study (Hart & Risely) that found some children hear thirty million words fewer by their fourth birthday than other children. The study also found that those children who heard more words entered school better prepared to learn and were stronger readers in third grade. The Initiative is a parent-directed program that mixes education and technology. Scientific evidence is delivered to parents in an easy to understand manner, making up the educational component. The children are recorded on a weekly basis that helps parents track their goals, thus making up the technology part. Each participant follows a set curriculum that is culturally sensitive and focuses on parent-child interaction. 
Birth Through Eight State Policy Framework : Research at a Glance - Revised 
This policy framework summaries the research that supports the Alliance for Early Success' policy areas in their "Birth Through Eight State Policy Framework". The revised portion underlines the policy areas of health, family support, and learning, as well as policies that bridge these areas. The Policy Framework and Guide accompanies the full report.  

Achieving Kindergarten Readiness for All Our Children: A Funder's Guide to Early Childhood Development from Birth to Five
In this report, the Bridgespan Group emphasizes the importance of early care and education for at-risk children. The piece also includes thirteen ways the philanthropic community can support positive early experiences for those young children. A fact sheet that highlights the key points accompanies the full report. 

American Almanac of Family Homelessness
The American Almanac of Family Homelessness is a comprehensive look at family homelessness in America. States are ranked by level of education, homelessness, and policy. Each state has it's own dashboard which allows for the exploration of trends. Lastly, this project provides a breakdown of issues that may lead to family homelessness and provides ideas for action. 

Building Blocks: State Child Care Assistance Policies
The National Women's Law Center published a state by state report that compares data from 2001, 2014, and 2015 on five factors that affect child care assistance. The report found that for the third year in a row, family situations have improved. In thirteen states, family situations worsened.  

Understanding and Addressing the Early Childhood Origins of "Mean" Behavior and Bullying: Resources for Practitioners   
This Child Trends' report defines bullying, explains the trajectory of "mean" behavior, and examines the roots of bullying. The report provides strategies to put in place in the early care and education setting to reduce the factors that lead to bullying, which include evidence-based interventions.  

Determinants of Subsidy Stability and and Child Care Continuity 
The final results of the Illinois - New York Research Partnership study have been released. This study examined "the determinants of subsidy instability and childcare continuity." The study took place over the course of eighteen months in four communities, two in New York and two in Illinois. Policy recommendations accompany each determinant in order to strengthen the implementation of the CCDBG.

Pediatricians Speak out About Food Insecurity
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a call for pediatricians to screen their patients for food insecurity and connect families to resources. Children who live in food insecure areas are at higher risks of experiencing toxic stress, anxiety, emotional stress, and dysregulated behaviors. The American Academy of Pediatricians has also called for pediatricians to advocate for programs that promote the health and well being of young children, like Express Lane Eligibility (ELE).  

Infants and Toddlers in the State Policy Picture: A Self-Assessment Toolkit for States 
 ZERO TO THREE revised their infant and toddler policy self-assessment toolkit. The toolkit has been designed to help policy leaders and advocates answer questions about how the youngest are fairing in their state. The questions focus on four policy areas: good health, strong families, positive early learning experiences, and systems building. The toolkit discusses how to collect and use data, as well as how to identify and breakdown existing state policies and funding streams. 

Using Data to Measure Performance of Home Visiting 
In an effort to track outcomes and find overall impact, multiple states joined with the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2013 to create the Home Visiting Data for Performance Initiative. The Initiative worked to create common performance measures in three areas; mental health and achievement, child health, development, and safety, and parental skills and capacity. The indicators that were developed by the initiative as well as factors that state and local programs can use to collect clear data are outlined in this report. 

Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss Study 
The Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss Study was conducted in 2008 in order to discover the impact of newborn hearing screening, early intervention, and advances in technology. View the final findings here. A parent handout provides a summary of the study with information geared toward parents of children with hearing loss. The parent handout includes main handouts and implications for parents. View the press release here.
Parenting Infants and Toddlers Today: Key Findings From a ZERO TO THREE 2009 National Parent Survey 
In 2009, 1,615 parents of children birth to three years old participated in a national survey for ZERO TO THREE. The survey set out to examine the challenges that parents of young children face. The survey also asked questions regarding gaps in knowledge around development, identify the places parents receive information, and what influences one's parenting approach. This fact sheet shares the six key findings and shares statistical data to back up the findings.  

Children and Terrorism
A paper out of the Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina examines the impact of terrorism on children. The paper shares research on the traumatic effect of direct terrorism and indirect terrorism on children. The indirect effect of terrorism is described as having the threat of terrorism on the minds of adults and children and having terrorism presented in the media. 

How Does Household Income Affect Child Personality Traits and Behaviors
A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research investigates how income affects personality traits. The research found that household income has an effect on a child's cognitive and behavioral development as well as their personality traits.

Race to The Top Early Learning Challenge 2014: Progress Update
The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Progress Update share the progress  made by the 20 RTT-ELC grant awardees. The Race to the Top program was authorized by Congress in 2011. Twenty states were awarded four year grants to improve quality in early learning and development programs. Data for this report was pulled from the 2014 Annual Performance Report. 

The Foundations of Life Long Health Are Built in Early Childhood 
A report out of the The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University investigates the link between early childhood and lifelong health. Their research found that positive early childhood experiences create a strong foundation for a healthy future. The importance of positive experiences, how to best foster these experiences, and strong policies and programs are discussed. 

Systemwide Solutions to Improve Early Intervention for Developmental-Behavioral Concerns
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a brief stating the importance of building solutions on the systems level to support the innovative work of Birth to Five:Watch me Thrive!. Birth to Five: Watch me Thrive aims to increase early screening and detection across sectors. In order to increase the screening and detection, capacity must be increased and leaders in those sectors must be identified. 

Measuring Child Outcomes in the Early Years  
The Center on Enhancing Early Childhood Outcomes (CEELO) released a policy brief regarding the assessment of young children. While the brief does not cover all assessments, it does provide a general overview to inform policy makers. 

Estimated Prevalence of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Following Questionnaire Changes in the 2014 National Health Interview Survey
In 2014, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) was updated to include a reorder of questions and a reword of  questions regarding autism spectrum disorder. This survey found that autism spectrum disorder was more prevalent than previous years, while the percentage of the prevalence of other developmental disabilities decreased significantly. The new survey layout and reworded questions may have affected the way respondents answered. The National Health Statistics Report explains the changes and the breakdown of the statistical prevalence of autism spectrum disorder.