Early Childhood Development Requires Stronger Systems

Posted March 21, 2017 by Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM

ECCS CoIIN seeks to align all the systems that serve our youngest children.

Early childhood is a crucial period for child development. From birth through age 3, kids can reach significant milestones in language, cognition, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor skills, and social and emotional development that can set them up to reach their full potential, specifically optimal developmental health.

That’s why there are so many resources to support children and families during these crucial years. Healthcare providers; community organizations; and government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels can all aid with early development. But these groups don’t always work in unison, so care and support are often episodic, lacking continuity as well as a systems approach.

That’s what the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (ECCS CoIIN) seeks to improve. Better coordination and integration of services, sectors, and data related to early childhood can help ensure that children reach their developmental potential and are ready to thrive in kindergarten.

Working Together for Solutions
The ECCS CoIIN convenes teams from 12 states, allowing them to share strategies, solutions and challenges for connecting existing resources as well as creating new ones for children. This is collaborative learning and collective impact at its best. Each state-based team is also working with place-based community teams who will work at the community level testing changes and potential improvements.

Such collaboration draws attention to insights in systems improvement across the early childhood system, from the national stage to individual towns or neighborhoods. In such joint work, ECCS stakeholders encounter common themes and challenges in their work, sharing successes and strategizing together for solutions. Substantive changes and hopefully improvements can be made across sites, not just for specific areas.

To that end, the ECCS CoIIN will capitalize on many of the best practices used for distance learning and national collaboration. In January, the first in-person learning session helped introduce teams to each other and connect with NICHQ staff, and the ECCS CoIIN Coordinating Center, to build working relationships. Webinars, virtual learning sessions and NICHQ’s Collaboratory will facilitate data sharing and collaboration to maintain progress as work is done in individual places.

To ensure that the ECCS CoIIN results are particularly meaningful for families, parents are full members of the ECCS teams. They authentically participate to help guide improvement strategies and innovation. Moms, dads and other caregivers understand what it is like to navigate across systems to seek opportunities that optimize their children’s developmental health. They best know what can be improved and how proposed systems changes might realistically work out.

Measured Goals for Change
Changes and progress will be monitored throughout the ECCS CoIIN to ensure that strategies have a positive impact on the early childhood systems that families rely on for developmental support. The overarching goal for the initiative is to increase, by 25%, the age appropriate skills of three-year-olds in participating communities.

To achieve that, the ECCS CoIIN will focus teams in a series of cohorts with distinct objectives that foster team identification of areas for improvement and specific challenges that can benefit from collaboration.  The first cohort is focused on developmental health promotion. Through continuous collaboration and cooperation, the ECCS CoIIN can strengthen systems for optimal early childhood development while at the same time serving as a guide for future systems-building work across the country. 


Add your comment





QI quality improvement sustainabilty im coiin nichq preterm birth Baby-Friendly breastfeeding Pediatric journal Best Fed Beginnings infant health safe sleep tips PDSA cycle baby box infant mortality family engagement eccs coiin immunizations health equity health disparities accreditation astho onboarding collaboration engagement partnerships larc nashp new york wic new york state hospitals mom mother partners epilepsy data AAP early childhood pdsas texas community support learning session children's health new technology engineering transgender collaborative learning planning PDSA planning paralysis underplanning analysis paralysis vision eye health smoking smoke-free housing second-hand smoke toolkit e-module dental care oral health underserved populations health inequity public health Maternal and Child Health Journal leadership engagement Sickle cell disease indiana SCD medicaid perinatal regionalization sudden infant death syndrome national birth defects prevention month birth defects pregnancy planning one key question prepregnancy health preconception health public breastfeeding support families patients experts insights CHOPT childhood obesity innovation food desert telemedicine TBLC breastfeeding supporting prematurity racial disparities audiology ehdi follow-up illinois talana hughes vulnerable populations sports asthma soccer basketball obesity football SIDS Pokemon Go gamification smartphones interconception care birth spacing issue brief contraceptive use postpartum care CoIN HRSA early childhood trauma NHSA community health consumer advocacy womens health interconception health teenage health PATCH wisconsin missouri risk appropriate care community health workers SCD< infographic infant mortality awareness month inspirations childrens health national breastfeeding month maternal health patient engagement hearing loss hearing treatment pediatric vision vision screening eyesight pre-term birth early-term birth SCD clinic los angeles LOCATe CDC levels of care neonatal care maternal care smoking cessation project safe sleep practices neonatal abstinence syndrome NAS opioids maternal and child health MCH Family voices quality care mental health hydroxyurea SCDTDP men dads testing change data sharing state government city government apps sleep AJPM preconception care senior leadership breastfeeding support video series access BQIH exclusive breastfeeding long-acting reversible contraception unplanned pregnancies social determinants of health health innovations Best Babies Zone CoIIN baby boxes Rhode Island progesterone rooming-in parent partner patient and family engagement healthy weight healthy lifestyles primary care telementoring ECHO video conferencing socioemotional health childhood development pediatric Tennessee interview National Coordinating and Evaluation Center medical-legal partnerships mobile app disparities perinatal care overweight obese healthy weight clinic wellness pilot sites data collection education resources paternal engagement risk-appropriate care preterm infants high-risk babies Ten Steps public relations social movement reversible contraceptives medical home pediatric medical home patient transformation facilitator PTF skin-to-skin rooming in prenatal smoking information visualization charts SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips ongoing improvement fourth trimester partnership quality and safety coaching leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision care vision health evidence-based guidelines ASH health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy leadership Berns Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data PFAC community partners preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis first responders NYC improvement healthcare health system sickle cell diease treatment protocol family health partner maternity care Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network Health Outcomes Cross-Sector Collaboration Knowledge Sharing Child Health