August 13, 2015 Print E-mail

Meeting Minutes of August 13, 2015
Approved on 9/10/15

I.  Welcome and Introductions
Present: Susan Buckley, Sydney Fisher Larson, Rebecca Lowry, Dian Pecora, Ronnie Swartz, Jessica Callahan
Staff: Wendy Rowan, Andrea Sousa
Consultants: Kim Puckett, Mary Ann Hansen (9 am – 10 am)       
Absent: Ovieda Elliott, Mark Lovelace, Sheryl Lyons

Ronnie Swartz called the meeting to order at 8:05 am


II.  Public Comments and Announcements
No Public Comments or Announcements were made


III.  Executive Director Report

  • First 5 California is releasing a new radio campaign as follow-up to the “Talk, Read, Sing” campaign.
  • Laura Power attended a First 5 Alameda training about “marijuana use in caregivers of young children.” Wendy suggested that the Commission may be interested in convening a conversation about this subject.  Commissioner Buckley said she is interested in any materials Laura has to share. Commissioners briefly shared their views why First 5 Commissions should or should not be involved in the marijuana debate, and if any evidence-based data and research material exist. Wendy suggested for Laura to share what she has learned at a future Commission meeting.
  • Wendy shared that she made comments about cannabis during a discussion at the July 23rd First 5 California meeting.
  • A letter from the California Legislature to Secretary Diana Dooley about improving early identification of developmental delays in California’s youngest children was shared. Wendy advocated for this with Assembly Member Wood and Senator McGuire.
  • Commissioners received an Advocacy Update handout, which included numerous Assembly Bills and Senate Bills, and an article from the Sacramento Bee about First 5 California’s concern about some of the bills.
  • An article by George Halvorson, chair of First 5 California, was published by the San Francisco Chronicle.  Commissioners received a copy of the article.
  • Wendy reminded Commissioners to connect with families of young children during upcoming community events, and represent First 5 at these events.
  • The red folder was routed.


IV.   Approval of Minutes: Commission Retreat minutes of July 9, 2015
Commissioner Buckley requested a correction on page 7, Discussion Item X, of the Retreat minutes, and Commissioner Fisher Larson requested a layout change for future minutes.

ACTION: The Retreat Minutes of July 9, 2015 were approved with the correction on page 7.


V.  Consent Calendar:
A.  May 2015 Postings

ACTION: The Postings for May 2015 were approved as presented.


VI.  Action Item: Program Evaluation Team Recommendations

Per the Program Evaluation Team recommendations for the current Fiscal Year and review of the end-of-year reports for the prior Fiscal Year, recommendations for the Hoopa School Readiness Program and the Manila Family Resource Center were considered.

Wendy shared that an Agreement for the Hoopa School Readiness Program was not executed until January 2015, and that Program activities did not begin until June 2015, the last month of the Agreement. The Program Evaluation Team (PET) is recommending to discontinue funding for the program. Commissioners suggested continuing to outreach to the Hoopa community. Wendy said that outreach will be done in Eastern Humboldt and will include the Hoopa community.  The Commission has had a long-term relationship with the Hoopa community and it is the hoped that activities for children age 0-5 can be supported.

ACTION: Commissioners approved the PET recommendation to discontinue funding for the Hoopa School Readiness Program, and to outreach within the community in two months.

The Commission also has had a long-term partnership with the Manila Community, funding the Manila Teenship Wellness Village Resource Center and now the Manila Family Resource Center/Manila Playgroup. Wendy shared that she received notification from the Manila Community Services District that they no longer will continue the oversight of the Manila Family Resource Center and that Redwood Coast Montessori School has offered to take over the oversight. Wendy requested that a transition plan be included in the end-of-year report, which has been done. Per the PET Process, since the prior Agreement was executed with the Manila Community Services District, the Program Evaluation Team met to review the end-of-year report and make a recommendation to the Commission. The recommendation is to continue funding the Manila Family Resource Center and to execute an Agreement with Redwood Coast Montessori School. The Manila Family Resource Center is integrating the CA Standards for Family Strengthening within their work, and the Playgroup, which is part of the Family Resource Center activities.  Both the Family Resource Center director and the playgroup leader are very responsive to technical assistance offered from First 5 staff. Commissioner Callahan shared that the school principal contacted her by e-mail and expressed his desire to be the fiscal agent for the Family Resource Center.  The Family Resource Center is located on the school grounds and playgroup activities are being held on the school grounds. Commissioner Lowry expressed that the school would be a good fit for playgroup activities.

ACTION: Commissioners approved the PET recommendation to execute an Agreement with the Redwood Coast Montessori School and continue funding in the amount of $20,000.


VII.  Discussion Item: Policy for Supporting Breastfeeding Employees

Per the Commission’s current work to promote the provision of a supportive environment for breastfeeding in the workplace, a policy for breastfeeding employees of FIRST 5 HUMBOLDT was reviewed.

A number of breastfeeding policies were reviewed, and the draft policy was developed with our capacity in mind to support breastfeeding in the workplace. Commissioners reviewed the policy and mentioned that not all employers are willing to purchase the equipment (breast pump) to assist the breastfeeding employees. Wendy said that our policy can be modified to meet the capacity and need for each employer. Commissioner Callahan shared that with her work and input into supporting breastfeeding employees, a policy like ours is a very good start.  It is easy to understand, can be modified, and is useful for employers.  She hopes that more employers will initiate policies for supporting breastfeeding employees. Kim Puckett shared that employers have options to develop a policy that can fit their need, and that we can share several existing policies with them.

The Policy for Supporting Breastfeeding Employees will be an Action Item at the September meeting.


VIII.  Information Item: Training & Technical Assistance Plan

Evaluator Kim Puckett reviewed the 2015/16 Training & Technical Assistance Plan for funded Parent & Family Support (PFS) Programs with Commissioners.

Kim shared that First 5 staff develops a training & technical assistance plan to guide the work for each PFS program for the Fiscal Year. Three family support levels are used when considering the plan for each PFS site. Meg, Beth, and Laura are able to provide all three levels of support, because they have the Infant Early Childhood Mental Health certifications. Program recommendations, Program concerns, unduplicated counts forms, surveys, etc. are used to form the plan for each site. Kim shared that in FY 15-16, a fourth Bottom Line Practice area will be developed with a focus on dealing with challenging behaviors and situations at playgroup.

Commissioners inquired about the family support level for the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center and Paso a Paso within the training & technical assistance plan. Kim explained that both sites do receive training opportunities, information/materials, and technical assistance for evaluation purposes. In addition, literacy activities are provided to Paso a Paso through the County Library.


IX.   Information Item: First 5 California:  First 5 IMPACT Grant

First 5 California released the RFA for the First 5 IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) in early July, and the Letter of Intent was submitted on July 10th.  Since then, the First 5 IMPACT Phase 1 Application – Base Layer Funding was released and will be submitted on August 14th prior to the deadline. Wendy shared that Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California, has been visiting counties and provided leadership for a  facilitated process with First 5 California Commissioners and First 5 Association members. The RFA was created with the learning from these processes in mind to further partnering with First 5 counties and help accomplish First 5 California’s mission to “convene, partner in, support, and help lead the movement to create and implement a comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated system for California’s children prenatal through 5 and their families.”

Wendy shared that she has participated in two webinars and another conference call is scheduled the end of August. The intent of our application is to strengthen our playgroup/PFS work and to strengthen the early childhood care & education (ECE) work. We are in the process of identifying specific technical assistance we could request from First 5 California. The IMPACT grant is a five year grant that requires the participation of the early childhood care and education leaders, and Mary Ann Hansen has been a leader in our local group since the fall. The five year funding projections for Humboldt County is in the amount of $672,982.

The Phase II application is due by November 20th. 57 First 5 counties have submitted the Letter of Intent, and counties were categorized by QRIS steps (1, 2, and 3). We were identified as a Step 2 category, with 41 participating target sites.  20 sites will be playgroup sites and 21 will be ECE sites. Mary Ann is convening a quality improvement group to help with the integration of the California Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) into the family strengthening work. The QRIS system is the foundation of the First 5 IMPACT work.  Some of the key components of the IMPACT grant include effective teacher-child interactions, family engagement & strengthening, and inclusion of priority populations, such as children with disabilities and other special needs, dual language learners, and infants and toddlers. Wendy mentioned that funds received would be used for workforce development, ECE coaching models, and data system & evaluation assessments.

Commissioners talked about the QRIS system, which is being implemented nationally. The State of California has joined the national movement to quantify and support the improvement of early childhood programs. The Quality Rating and Improvement System should identify quality levels of early learning programs, by using a star rating system, as well as offering incentives and supports to help programs improve quality and move through the various identified levels. QRIS has three Core levels, which are:  Core I:  Child Development & School Readiness; Core II: Teachers & Teaching; and Core III:  Program & Environment. Commissioners discussed how cross-training with the ECE field and the Parent & Family Support programs would support the child’s school readiness.

Commissioners will receive updates as the work of the IMPACT grant progresses.

X.    Discussion Item: “Help Me Grow”

Commissioners were briefed on the “Help Me Grow California” model at the July Retreat. “Help Me Grow” (HMG) is a unique, comprehensive, and integrated statewide system designed to address the need for early identification and linkage to developmental and behavioral services and supports for children and their families.

The four core components of a comprehensive HMG system are:

  • Centralized telephone access point for connection of children and their families to services and care coordination
  • Community outreach to promote the use of HMG and to provide networking opportunities among families and service providers
  • Child health care provider outreach to support early detection and early intervention
  • Data collection and analysis to understand all aspects of the HMG system, including the identification of gaps and barriers.

Commissioners discussed how “Help Me Grow” could be implemented in our county. Some counties utilize physician groups who get trained, some counties utilize the existing 211 system, with a staff person solely dedicated to “Help Me Grow,” and some counties have parents sign up, fill out an ASQ (Ages & Stages Questionnaire), and then someone will call them to follow up. Mary Ann shared a story about a Spanish speaking provider she had a conversation with about a follow-up for a child with special needs. She mentioned that a centralized referral system would be very helpful for this.  Commissioner Buckley talked about an existing group, which includes staff from the Redwood Coast Regional Center and Public Health that could be approached for input about planning and the implementation of HMG.

Commissioners talked about what entity in Humboldt County would be qualified to be the centralized referral system, i.e. the Switchboard (211), Redwood Coast Regional Center, and Humboldt County Office of Education. Data collection would be strong component of the HMG. Commissioner Pecora shared that Public Health’s Child Health & Disability Prevention Program (CHDP) is in the process of strengthening their universal development assessment, and was suggesting supporting or adding on to an already existing system. Commissioner Swartz said that from an academic view, the “Help Me Grow” National Center’s Policy Brief’s footnotes are questionable.

This Agenda Item will be continued at a future meeting.


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

Next Meeting:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015
from 5 – 7 pm
First 5 Humboldt Office
1012 Second Street, Eureka

Chair:  Sydney Fisher Larson


Next Meetings:
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015; 5 – 7 pm, Humboldt Area Foundation
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015; 5 – 7 pm, First 5 Humboldt Office
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015; 8 – 10 am, First 5 Humboldt Office