September 10, 2015 Print E-mail

Meeting Minutes of September 10, 2015
Approved on 10/27/15

I.          Welcome and Introductions

Present: Jessica Callahan, Sydney Fisher Larson, Mark Lovelace, Sheryl Lyons, Dian Pecora, Ronnie Swartz, Ovieda Elliott

Staff: Wendy Rowan

Guests: Beth Heavilin, Meg Walkley

Absent: Susan Buckley


Sydney Fisher Larson called the meeting to order at 5 pm


II.         Public Comments and Announcements

No Public Comments and Announcements were made.


III.        Executive Director Report

  • Wendy gave an update on SBX214, which would add another $2 tax on tobacco products. All prior bills included back fill for Proposition 10, but this bill was excluding back fill for Proposition 10.  30 County Commissions actively spoke to their Legislatures and explained what impact this would have on First 5 revenue. The back fill was then placed in the bill.
  • The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved to audit the Board of Equalization about the Proposition 10 allocation. Currently, the BOE costs for administering the licensing and enforcement program is $34 million, with Prop. 10’s cost allocation amount determined by BOS is over $17 million, which is almost 50% of the total administrative budget for the licensing and enforcement program.
  • Legislators are having conversations about using back fill money from ballot measures and ways to support governmental entities without taking back fill money.
  • First 5 California started a newsletter “First 5 California FOCUS.”  It is a more user-friendly form of communication between the State Commission and County Commissions. The newsletter will be available on an ongoing basis.
  • Wendy thanked Commissioners Buckley and Pecora for being able to attend an upcoming HSU meeting with Wendy about the Family Strengthening Institute.
  • Wendy shared a cartoon that was routed at the Early Childhood Care & Education Subcommittee meeting by Kate Green.
  • The red folder was routed, which included flyers, a newsletter, and an article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

IV.        Approval of Minutes

  1. A. Meeting Minutes of August 13, 2015
  2. B. Meeting Minutes of August 21, 2015

ACTION: The meeting minutes of August 13 and August 21, 2015 were approved as written.


V.         Consent Calendar:

A.  June 2015 Postings

B.  CLIF Award:  Holiday Funding Partnership

ACTION: The Consent Calendar Items were approved as presented.


VI.        Action Item: Policy for Supporting Breastfeeding Employees

Per the Commission’s current work to promote the provision of supportive environments for breastfeeding in the workplace, the Commission considered a policy for breastfeeding employees for First 5 Humboldt.  The policy was reviewed at August 13th meeting.


Commissioner Callahan shared she is meeting with the Mayor of Arcata next week to talk about a city-wide policy in support of breastfeeding in the workplace. Other lactation consultants are starting to approach their work place to implement a breastfeeding in the workplace policy. Commissioner Callahan also talked to staff at Coastal Grove about implementing a breastfeeding policy. She is excited to share the breastfeeding policy template for employers to consider implementing. A lot of employers don’t think breastfeeding in the workplace is relevant to them until they are confronted with this issue. It is nice to see businesses are starting to look into creating and implementing breastfeeding policies.


Per the Commission’s input at the last meeting, Wendy created a template for businesses to use and to format for their needs.

ACTION: The Policy for Supporting Breastfeeding Employees was approved as presented.


VII.       Information Item: 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative

The end-of year report of June 2015 from Meg Walkley and Beth Heavilin was reviewed. Meg and Beth gave updates on the activity of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative.


Meg shared the mission statement of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative.  Collaborative members are dedicated to the trans-disciplinary model and the Collaborative’s focus is supporting the mental wellness for all expectant parents, children and their families.  The Collaborative membership includes 14 organizations that are actively participating, which includes some school districts, some private counseling practices and organizations that are involved with young children, including the Social Work Department at Humboldt State University. The 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative includes several subcommittees. The Planning and Advisory Team hosted a week-long visit from Michelle Montgomery, a school counselor from Australia, who is also a trained school psychologist. During her visit, Michelle visited some playgroups with Meg. Meg shared that Michelle contacted her last week and that Michelle is starting a playgroup in her area and that she also wants to do the parent-café “hot topics.”  Michelle is trying to bridge the connection between the early childhood community and the school system in her community.


Beth Heavilin said the Collaborative has shifted to doing more Subcommittee work, in order to move forward with projects. It’s been a good way for smaller groups to work on projects they are interested in. One Subcommittee is working on the development of an in-county Infant Family and Early Childhood Mental Health (IFECMH) Certification program. The hope is in the future to have an in-county certification project, so people can get their endorsement in-county and not have to travel out of the area to do this. The Subcommittee has been supporting a group of practitioners throughout the endorsement process, and five people have been endorsed, which is significant for our County.  The Collaborative has been working on developing a “crosswalk” to look at HSU’s courses and the competencies for IFECMH endorsements, and how to support students in the Social Work, Psychology, and Child Development departments at HSU.


Beth and Meg co-wrote and obtained a HumboldtBRIDGES grant to develop a more qualified multi-disciplinary workforce and training opportunities related to infant-family and early childhood mental health. Beth shared what other counties are doing in regards to IFECMH trainings and what would be useful in our community.


The Collaborative’s website is in the developmental stage.  The website has information about the Collaborative, a calendar of training opportunities, information about the IFECMH endorsement and resources. The website’s address is


Meg shared that the Training Subcommittee has worked on 22 trainings, which served 284 multi-disciplinary attendees, which represented over 50 organizations. The Collaborative has been really responsive to the multi-disciplinary approach, which has been a great model.  Two professional learning communities have been established, one in Reflective Practice and one in Second Step.  Commissioners commented on the Second Step curriculum. An evaluation chart was routed with number of training attendees and the quality of the trainings. Evaluation is a big part of the training component.


Commissioners asked questions about College of the Redwood’s involvement with the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative, the IFECMH endorsement process, and the number of professionals moving toward endorsements.


In-progress activities include, with the HumboldtBRIDGES grant, trainings for participants to go through the Neurosequential Model of Education (NME) web-based series at the advanced level, learning to utilize the tools and how to train the staff at their work. Currently, one practitioner is doing the Neurosequential Model therapeutic session and she’ll be able to utilize that tool in our community.  Also, Dr. Eagles agreed to fund another HCOE practitioner to participate in the Neurosequential Model therapeutic session.


Another planning stage of the Collaborative is to utilize the pilot sites in going through the NME and training others.  The pilot site would be providing coaches. Pilot sites will be at least one playgroup, one preschool, two therapeutic settings, a T-K classroom and an early primary classroom. The sites will be located within a geographic range where people can drive and visit those sites. A Humboldt Region grant was submitted by Humboldt County Office of Education to establish the pilot sites. An Evaluation plan will be developed as part of establishing the pilot sites. The Child Trauma Academy has been responsive in coaching Meg and Beth with the Neurosequential Model work and the planning of the pilot sites. They are very flexible in regards to the rural model and are willing to make adjustments to accommodate the needs in Humboldt County.


Beth Heavilin talked about co-authoring an article proposal and abstract with Mary Ann Hansen, entitled “Rooted in Partnerships:  Growing a More Responsive Early Childhood Mental Health System” for the March 2016 Young Children cluster It Takes a Team:  Collaborating With Collegues in Related fields. The proposal was submitted to the National Education of Young Children Journal and was accepted.  The article will highlight the work of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative.


Meg and Beth will be presenting at the upcoming National Zero To Three National Training Institute in Seattle, WA about the playgroup work and incorporating IFECMH work into playgroups. They will be taking the Playgroup Initiative Manual with them to share.


With the HumboldtBRIDGES grant, 19 practitioners were trained to become certified educators in infant massage.  They trained a very multi-disciplinary group, i.e. early intervention folks, a foster parent, educators, Doulas, Family Resource Center staff, which came from all areas of the county. Each practitioner needs to do five free sessions with families in order to get their certification, and then needs to pay forward the BRIDGES grant with another five free sessions with families. An exciting element to that is parent education.  The National Association of Infant Massage has a lot of parent education build into the training component. Meg did her first session for a mom of twins, and the amount of parent education that was shared within 90 minutes was incredible.


Beth is teaching at Humboldt State University this semester, filling in for a child development teacher. During this time, Meg is taking on the full coordination of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative.  Meetings during that time have been restructured and the Collaborative only will be having planning and advisory group meetings every other month; and the second Monday of every month will be reserved for the Subcommittee meetings. Some of the Subcommittee meetings will be combined.


Meg invited Commissioners to an Open House on June 13, 2016, which will be a celebration of the work of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative. Ronnie Swartz was approached to do a presentation in early June 2016 about his narrative therapy & expertise. Meg shared that she and Beth have been invited to the Behavioral Health Board about IFECMH, so they will be preparing for that with some representatives from the Department of Health & Human Services.


Commissioners thanked Meg and Beth for their updates and commented about the growth of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative.  Commissioner Lyons shared that within her work, the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative is more commonly mentioned for people to turn to for teaching, etc.  Wendy talked about the early work and the dissolution of the Home Visiting Collaborative, and the formation of the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative and how the work has evolved. Other First 5 counties are looking at Humboldt County as a role model of how to incorporate IFECMH into the playgroup work.


Meg shared that they had an exciting back-to-school event at Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE), where Dr. Eagles presented on the importance of early intervention and prevention.  Meg, along with some other HCOE Mental Health staff, are scheduled to make a presentation to the Superintendent’s Forum.  Meg’s part of the presentation will be talking about the importance of early intervention and prevention when it comes to children’s social and emotional wellness.


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

Wendy shared a few updates about Humboldt’s submitted Phase I Application to First 5 California. The application lays out the key partners, our strengths and our concerns. Listed are some mandatory partners and some potential partners. Wendy said what really distinguishes our application is the integrating of our Early Childhood Education (ECE) work with the Family Strengthening work. If the application is approved, we are looking at dividing the funds between the playgroup work and the ECE quality improvement work. The work within the playgroups is grounded in the Playgroup Initiative and the workforce development, i.e. training, certification of playgroup leaders, and regional specialists. It will be an opportunity to gain some significant resources for 5 years to further the Playgroup Initiative work and to improve the quality of the workforce, and also improve the quality of ECE practice.  Wendy and Mary Ann Hansen took part in several First 5 California webinars and they used us as an example for alternative settings.  Some First 5 counties are already looking at our Playgroup Initiative online. Commissioner Fisher Larson shared that Mary Ann has done good work with the workgroup and concerns have been put to rest.  She talked how the workgroup is focusing on the outcome what is best for children age 0-5 in our county.


Wendy talked about the current strengths and current gaps reported in the application.  Data collection is the current gap, which the workgroup agrees on. The current strength is the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative as a foundation of our Consortium. The opportunity to submit this application is more than receiving funds, it’s about building a quality relationship with First 5 California that can benefit work into the future.  Wendy and Mary Ann met today to work on the next steps, like the timeline and the workplan. Commissioner Fisher Larson pointed out an error in the application, which will be corrected. Commissioner Pecora had some questions about data collection and how to integrate specific data, so all partners could get use out of the data collection. Commissioners will continue to receive updates on this effort.


IX.        Discussion Item: “Help Me Grow”

Commissioners continued the discussion from the last meeting about the potential of the “Help Me Grow” model for integrating systems in Humboldt County to better serve young children and their families and to identify next steps.


Commissioners reviewed the four components of a comprehensive Help Me Grow (HMG) system, which are:  1. Centralized telephone access point for connection of children and their families to services and care coordination; 2. Community outreach to promote the use of HMG and to provide networking opportunities among families and service providers; 3. Child health care provider outreach to support early detection and early intervention; and 4. Data collection and analysis to understand all aspects of the HMG system, including the identification of gaps and barriers.


The discussion at the last meeting was about the difficulty of the Strategic Plan Goal 4 work and integrating system to benefit children, especially children with disabilities and other special needs.  HMG is a good model to address Strategic Plan Goal 4.  Commissioner Pecora talked about universal development assessment, which already exists within the Public Health’s Child Health & Disability Prevention Program (CHDP).  CHDP is aimed at early identification and prevention, and they do already have an existing relationship with child health care providers. The question was raised if CHDP only services low income children. A suggestion was made to look at the existing system to see if we can add on to what already exists, instead of developing a new system. Commissioner Pecora did talk with some child health care providers about including assessments for behavioral health, etc. and they would be willing to do it.  The health care providers questioned what referral sources are existing, if behavioral health issues are suspected during the assessment. The referral sources need to be identified in order to make the outcome successful for the child. Commissioner Pecora sent out basic information about this topic to a DHHS core team to identify what it is that DHHS already is doing in terms of getting resources to parents of children age 0-5. There are several components that would need to happen. The health care providers need to be brought into the discussion and what assessment tool to use. A lot of the existing systems use the “Ages and Stages” questionnaire (ASQ).


Wendy thanked Commissioner Pecora for her initiative to take a lead on the third component of the HMG system.  She agrees that we could strengthen an already existing program, instead of starting a new system. Commissioner Elliott shared that she engaged in a discussion during a conference she attended about the burden of integrating the HMG system in some areas, and how First 5 could support the health care providers to relief or support them to get adequate health care data. Commissioner Callahan mentioned that, living in a rural community, there is a small number of child health care providers, and that we have the ability to access them. Commissioner Fisher Larson referred to her experience in the ECE field, and the importance to child care providers and caregivers have access to the ASQ as a referral source. Commissioner Elliott inquired about if resources are not available for the child and the behavior of the child becomes an issue.  Wendy talked about using the ASQ for educational purposes within the community, and building partnerships with the schools and health care providers. Commissioner Elliott spoke about how childhood behavioral issues are also an educational issue aside from a health issue.


This discussion item will be continued at a future meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 7 pm.


Next Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015
5 – 7 pm
Humboldt Area Foundation, Emmerson Room
363 Indianola Road, Bayside


Chair:  Mark Lovelace


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


Next Meetings:

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015                       5 – 7 pm, First 5 Humboldt Office

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015                     8 – 10 am, First 5 Humboldt Office