June 23, 2015 Print E-mail

Meeting Minutes of June 23, 2015
Approved on 7/9/15

I.   Welcome and Introductions
Present:   Susan Buckley, Jessica Callahan, Ovieda Elliott, Sydney Fisher Larson, Rebecca Lowry, Sheryl Lyons, Dian Pecora, Ronnie Swartz
Staff:   Wendy Rowan, Andrea Sousa
Consultants:   Kim Puckett, Nancy Howatt
Guests:   Meg Walkley, Beth Heavilin, Kim Rios, Adelina Corral Gonzalez, Alfredo Corral, Megan Vierra, Elaine DuBois, Robin Renshaw, Richard Swisher, Wendy Jones, Krystal Arnot, Armida Martinez, Tana Dittmer, Darla Marshall, Dawn Arledge, Jessica Botsch, Monica Marinez, Kishan Lara Cooper, Nancy Keleher, Alexis Barrett, Alicia Chivington
Absent:   Mark Lovelace

Dian Pecora called the meeting to order at 5:05 pm

II.   Public Comments and Announcements
Susan Buckley shared that the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study and the 0-5 Mental Health Collaborative’s work about incorporating the Protective Factors is starting to have an effect in the medical and clinical practices in Humboldt County. Clinicians are starting to consider how to include prevention measures within their work.
Dian Pecora announced that “Humboldt Bridges” is undergoing a two-day Federal Survey review. Today was the first day of the review and it will continue throughout tomorrow.

III.   Recognition of Program Results and Successes by Acknowledgement of Program Leaders, Partners, and Communities
Per First 5 Humboldt’s Evaluation Policy for Continuation of Existing Programs, each year the Commission shows appreciation to those who have provided exemplary service to young children and their families.  The Commission acknowledged the following program leaders, partners, and communities: Kim Rios, Blue Lake Community Resource Center, Cindi Kaup, CPIN, Dawn Arledge, California Center for Rural Policy, Nancy Keleher, Maternal Child & Adolescent Health, Public Health, Jessica Botsch, Tiny Tots Playgroup, Angela Boldt, Redway Playgroup, Wendy Jones, College of the Redwoods, Child Development Center, Alexis Barrett, Little Redwoods Preschool, Alicia Chivington, Little Redwoods Preschool, Carole Anne Smullin Brown, Patricia D. and William B. Smullin Foundation, Ben Clifton, Blue Lake Playgroup, Barbara McLellan, Willow Creek Playgroup, Megan Vierra, Orleans Playgroup, and Lorey Keele, Redwood Community Action Agency. Christie Lampro, Cameron Mull, Elaine DuBois, Karen Stanley, and Lisa Henninger, Playgroup Initiative Advisory Group. Darla Marshall, K’ima:w Medical Center, Andy Jensen, Partnership Health Plan of California, Nancy Holberg-Caster, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tana Dittmer, Mad River Community Hospital, Armida Martinez, North Country Clinic, and Kishan Lara-Cooper, Humboldt State University. Leslie Reynaga, Hayley Brick, Krystal Arnot, Monica Marinez, Maria Adelina Corral Gonzalez, Robin Renshaw, Richard Swisher, and Martha Traphagen were also recognized for their service to children and the Commission over the years.

IV.  Executive Director Report

  • The Discovery Museum has moved to their new location at 612 G Street, Suite 102. The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Celebration is on July 11, 2015 at 10 am. Starting July 14th, regular programs will resume.
  • Commissioners were asked to return their Playgroup Initiative document and were given an updated document, because the first printed version needed to have a page replaced.
  • Wendy shared an update on the decrease of licensed child care homes in Humboldt County.  In 2001, there were over 200 licensed child care homes in Humboldt County, and as of December 2014, there are only 139 licensed child care homes. This is a concern, because the birth rate has remained stable. If this trend continues, many parents will not be able to find quality child care for their children.
  • Wendy received an e-mail from Chris Drop, Manila Community Services District, informing her that the Community District Board has voted unanimously to transfer the oversight of the Manila Family Resource Center and Playgroup to the Redwood Coast Montessori School. This was very disappointing, because Wendy had a phone conversation earlier in the month with Chris, recommending a 1-year transition with the Community Services District and the School. First 5 Humboldt has been in partnership with the Manila Community Services District since 2001, and has maintained a vested interest in the community. With the change in oversight of the Family Resource Center and Playgroup, a transition plan needs to be in place.  Wendy requested to include an outline of the transition plan in the Year-End Report, which is due by July 30, 2015. Per the Evaluation Policy for Continuation of Existing Programs, the Program Evaluation Team will meet early August to review the Year-End Report and transition plan and will make a recommendation to the Commission at the August meeting.
  • The red folder was routed, which included a sympathy card, a donation letter from a local Realtor, and e-mail print-outs regarding the California Budget, and First 5 Association of California advocacy updates.

V.  Approval of Minutes: Commission Meeting Minutes of May 19, 2015
ACTION: The meeting minutes of May 19, 2015 were approved as written.

VI.  Consent Calendar:
A.      April 2015 Postings
B.      North Coast Grantmaking Partnership: Children’s Summer Lunch Program
C.      North Coast Grantmaking Partnership: ChildSpree
D.     Annual Audit:  Christy White & Associates
E.      FRC Consultant for Fiscal Year 2015/16
ACTION:  All Consent Calendar Items were approved as presented.

VII.  Action Item:  Commission Budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16
Commissioners reviewed the Budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16 at the last meeting. Wendy gave an overview of the budget revenues, administrative expenditures, 3-year agreements, 2-year agreements, 1-year agreements, and in-house programs/support. Commissioner Buckley inquired about where the Playgroup Initiative cost falls within the budget. Wendy explained the proposed budget shows a budget line item for Playgroup Initiative implementation expenditures and the funded program amounts for playgroups are shown in the budget line item for the HCOE program specialists and detailed within the two year and one year budget line items specific to each program.  
ACTION:  The Commission Budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16 was approved as presented.

VIII.   Action Item:  First 5 Humboldt Ten Year Forecast
The Ten Year Forecast, June 2015, was reviewed at the last meeting.  The Ten Year Forecast is the Commission’s long range financial plan, and it is updated each year prior to the close of the Fiscal Year. This plan needs to be adopted to commit the 2014-15 components of ending fund balance, in order to show the committed funds in the annual audit report, and to be in compliance with the statute of Proposition 10. Nancy Howatt reviewed the Ten Year Forecast with Commissioners. She shared the committed funds for the 2015/16 budget is $1,189,425 in the General Fund.  The Sustainability Fund in the amount of $4,774,440 is committed for Programs and Program Services in future years. The total committed amount is $5,963,865.  Should the General Fund Balance at June 30, 2015 exceed $1,189,425 the balance is committed to Safety Net Activities.  Should the Sustainability Fund Balance at June 30, 2015 exceed $4,774,440 the balance is committed to Programs.

Nancy pointed out, with the upcoming Playgroup Initiative, most programs have been continually supported within the Ten Year Forecast.  About $35,000 has been added for the Playgroup Initiative, in order to support additional activities, i.e. art, music & nutrition in the playgroups. The funding for the Playgroup Initiative has been separated from the Core Programs and has been given its own line item within the Ten Year Forecast, which reduces the overall funding amount for the Core Programs.

A big drop of funds for the core programs will be expected as of Fiscal Year 2021/22, but funding for the playgroups could continue for at least another 3 years. In addition, as of Fiscal Year 2018/19, the Executive Director and Executive Secretary positions will be reduced to 80%. With the next Strategic Plan cycle in 2017/18, Commissioners could discuss narrowing down the Strategic Goals and funding commitments. Nancy reminded Commissioners that the Ten Year Forecast could change, depending on receiving additional revenue or increase of interest. The Ten Year Forecast will be revised after the completion of the annual audit.        
ACTION:  The First 5 Humboldt Ten Year Forecast, June 2015, was approved as presented.

IX.  Action Item:  Nutrition Support in the Playgroup Settings
Per the Playgroup Initiative, with plans to further healthy eating and active play within the playgroups, funding is requested to support the Nutrition Education Specialist at the Humboldt County Office of Education to assist with development and implementation of Bottom Line Practices in the area of nutrition.

We previously have had a partnership with the Nutrition Education Specialist from Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) in the development of the FUN Play Center component.  Linda Prescott presented Harvest of the Month activities with the FUN Play Center in the beginning stages of the playgroup. In addition, from 2011 - 2014, playgroups received nutrition support through our partnership with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, which also did Harvest of the Month activities throughout the County.

Linda Prescott praised the Commission’s commitment to include healthy eating and nutrition within the playgroups. She has met with Meg Walkley, Beth Heavilin, and Cindi Kaup to discuss the level of service to provide to playgroups in regard to nutrition support. Linda talked about her 3-year proposal to assist with the development and implementation of the Bottom Line Practices in the area of nutrition as part of the Playgroup Initiative. She will provide technical assistance and conduct site visits to support playgroups in providing quality snacks that are developmentally appropriate, and nutrition experiences in the playgroup environment. Technical Assistance will be provided to all playgroups at the First 5 Humboldt Parent & Family Support (PFS) semi-annual workshops for Program Leaders. Some playgroups will receive additional services, based on the level (Level 2 or Level 3) on the PFS technical assistance Decision Making Tree.  After initial assessment, site visits will occur based on factors such as site interest, need, staff changes, and budget parameters. Level 2 sites are identified as playgroup sites that are located within 30 minutes of the HCOE office, meets once a week and/or serves under 10 families per session.  Level 3 sites are identified as playgroup sites that are located within 30 minutes of the HCOE office, meets more than once a week, and serves more than 10 families per session.  Commissioners reviewed the Level 2 and Level 3 playgroup sites.

Kim Puckett shared that she learned through evaluation of surveys, that parents and playgroup facilitators really liked the Harvest of the Month activities. Commissioner Elliott inquired about doing quarterly visits to playgroup in outlying areas. Meg Walkley responded that the outlying areas are already doing adequate nutrition activities.  Willow Creek playgroup has been serving a healthy lunch for a long time. The Orleans Playgroup leader has connected with a family farm to provide free produce to the playgroup. The Southern Humboldt playgroup facilitator has continuously taught healthy food classes to the playgroup leaders and has provided nutritious food to the playgroups. Meg feels very comfortable with the knowledge of nutrition and healthy food choices for these playgroup sites.  Commissioner Lowry suggested an annual meeting with the playgroup leaders from the outlying areas to trouble-shoot any nutrition issues they may encounter. Commissioner Elliott requested to also list Level 1 playgroups and the technical assistance that will be provided to them. Linda said she can provide a list with the Level 1 playgroups and T.A. assistance provided.
ACTION:  The Nutrition Support in the Playgroup Setting proposal was approved as presented.

X.  Discussion Item:  Our Time Together:  The Playgroup Initiative

Wendy introduced the Playgroup Initiative document. This document has been a collaborative effort of consultants, Playgroup Initiative Advisory Group members, Commission members, First 5 Humboldt staff, and other contributors. Wendy reviewed the Playgroup Initiative document with Commissioners. She shared that Commissioner Callahan wrote the Foreword to the document and pointed out the Acknowledgement page. The document is broken out into 10 Sections, contains bibliography, author biographies, and several appendices.

Section I, written by Wendy Rowan, is the Introduction to the document – what are playgroups, why playgroups, and the relationship to the Commission’s vision and community building principles. Wendy shared that she wrote this section focusing on the partnership we have with the communities, and the Commission’s fundamental beliefs as articulated in the Strategic Plan.  

Section II, co-written by Meg Walkley and Beth Heavilin, is about Playgroup Quality – Drawing on the Family Strengthening Movement. Section II refers to the Bottom Line & Best Practices, the Family Strengthening Standards, the 5 Protective Factors, Training & Technical Assistance, and Regional Specialists.  Section II also includes a section about multi-cultural responsiveness, written by Laura Power. Meg shared that this Section talks about what we are doing now and how to move forward to improve the quality in playgroups. Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health is a key component for improving the quality in playgroups. Hiring of Regional Specialists would be beneficial for providing technical assistance in Eastern Humboldt and the Eel River Valley.

Section III, written by Kim Puckett, Evaluation of First 5 Humboldt Playgroups, describes the concept of evaluation of programs, why we are collecting evaluation data.  It describes the playgroup indicators and the process of tracking the playgroup indicators. The Section also shows samples of Playgroup Evaluation results, with several charts, parent comments and provider voices. Commissioner Buckley inquired about evaluation of the playgroups located in Eureka and how to continue serving underserved families. Meg responded that one Eureka playgroup in particular regularly serves foster families, families with CWS workers, and families enrolled in Nurse Family Partnership.

Section IV, written by Meg Walkley, talks about Developing Playgroups – Considerations for the Physical Environment.  When selecting a space for playgroup activities, some important considerations need to be considered, i.e. Safety, family needs, resource area, stages of play, activity centers, and outside play, depending on the size of the playgroup and the location of the playgroup. Wendy shared that the Playgroup Initiative Advisory Group gave good input into this Section, with the focus on “safety first!”

Written by Wendy Rowan, Section V, Enrichment – Options for Enhancing the Playgroup Experience, shows how to enhance playgroup activities by incorporating visual arts, music, healthy eating, and active play. This Section ends with an article written by Commissioner Lowry about the quality of interactions between a caregiver and child, and about sharing cultural variation of expressions, as provided in the model “Early Intervention:  Cross-Cultural Experiences with Mediational Approach” by Pnina Klein. Wendy said the one thing she has been hearing from families during site visits is the desire  for adding music, art, and healthy eating and active play activities in the playgroups. Also, the enrichment options are excellent ways for parents to interact with their children. Each playgroup community can pick their own options, and draw on the expertise/assets within their community. The approach to add music activities in playgroups will be through a bid process.  For visual art, Jennifer Gonzales and Robin Renshaw have been working to present examples of visual art acitivity appropriate for playgroups.  Robin feels that art is an essential part of the child’s learning curve. Through art, children can explore who they are and can learn how to express themselves. Art is incorporated throughout each culture and it can be a great way to share with others. The plan is to offer a yearly visual art training and give the participants a supply kit at the end of the training to use in their playgroups. Commissioner Lowry shared the trend of the Weitchpec Tribal families to revitalize their native language with their children.

Beth Heavilin wrote Section VI, Playgroup Workforce Development. This section gives insight to building capacity for qualified playgroup leaders, playgroup leader hiring & orientation, training of playgroup leaders, and ongoing training and technical assistance by the Children & Family Support Specialists. Beth talked about the concept of providing an online certification process for playgroup leaders. Depending on each playgroup site, each playgroup has a different level of capacity for hiring of playgroup leaders.  Some parents attending playgroups end up becoming the playgroup leader.  With the certification process, a uniform knowledge to become a playgroup leader will occur, i.e. knowledge of the bottom line and best practices will be the same in each playgroup.

Section VII, Community Partners – Relationship Based Upon Community Assets, written by Wendy Rowan, talked about asset-based community development, playgroups as community development, playgroup oversight, playgroup support, and examples of community partners providing playgroups. This Section reaffirms that a community partnership is needed, in order to have a successful playgroup. Partnership examples are provided in the document.

Section VIII, Protocols for Opening and Closing Playgroups, was co-written by Wendy Rowan, Andrea Sousa, and Meg Walkley.  This Section addresses the conditions for opening a playgroup (Proposal, Agreement, Insurance Requirements), establishing a budget (basic budgetary needs), why playgroups close, and the Commission’s Policies and Tools in place. This Section deals with the basics of what is needed to open a playgroup. The Section talks about submitting a proposal, executing an agreement, what the insurance requirements are in order to execute an agreement, what a budget looks like, what toys/equipment a playgroup should have, food supplies needed, rent payment, staffing cost, and administrative cost.

Co-written by Wendy Rowan and Nancy Howatt, Section IX, Funding Formula – Securing Playgroups for Humboldt’s Children and Families Into the Future, responds to Strategic Plan Goal 5 – build a stable funding base to sustain core programs over time. This Section includes the Ten Year Forecast, showing how to sustain playgroup activities over the next 10 years. This Section provides a foundation for funding, which can be used to seek additional funds/leverage funds. First 5 California is identifying some funds to partner with Commissions around projects that the Commissions already have been investing in and that have had an impact. This may be a funding source for evaluation and Regional Specialists.  Also, the local funders have been going through a facilitated process to reflect upon their investments together.  Some local funders may be interested in investing in the Playgroup Initiative.

Section X, Literature Review – the Learning Community for Playgroup Development, was co-written by Wendy Rowan and Kim Puckett. This Section talks about the relevant literature and sources found within the Playgroup Initiative document. First 5 Monterey County has been an essential resource in providing us with relevant literature from their research project “Best Practices in Playgroups:  Research Review and Quality Enhancement Framework for First 5 Monterey County Playgroups Serving Children 0-3 Years Old.” We plan to partner with First 5 Monterey County to keep current on relevant sources for playgroup work.

In addition to the Bibliography and Author Biographies, the Playgroup Initiative document contains 28 appendices.

Wendy encouraged Commissioners to further review the Playgroup Initiative document and contact her for input, questions or clarification. Commissioner Pecora expressed hope that the Playgroup Initiative doesn’t lose the concept of the natural community leaders. She hopes that this document will help strengthen the process of finding natural community leaders.  Wendy replied that the Regional Specialist would be a good resource to find the natural community leaders and support them in serving children age 0-5 and their families within their communities. The Playgroup Initiative document will be considered for adoption at the Commission’s Retreat in July.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 pm

Next Meeting:
Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015
8 am to 10 am
First 5 Humboldt Office

Commission Retreat:
Thursday, July 9, 2015
8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, Eureka

Minutes compiled by:  Andrea Sousa, Executive Secretary, First 5 Humboldt, 1012 - 2nd Street, Eureka, 95501

Next Meetings:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015; 8 – 10 am, First 5 Office
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015; 5 – 7 pm, Location TBD
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015; 5 – 7 pm, Location TBD
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015; 8 – 10 am, First 5 Office                                            
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