Just this past week, the newly re-instated Children’s Cabinet voted upon and approved a strategic plan which lays out their work for the next five years. (see link below) Their overarching vision is to ensure that each Rhode Island child has the opportunity to have a safe, healthy and bright future.
In its Guiding Principles it lists, “As agency leaders we commit to doing more than managing a singular agency”. This is one of the aspects of the document I find compelling, because it reminds me of the work we have been doing here at Children’s Friend.
As many of you know, we have worked for the past several years on a strategic goal to develop anintegrated early childhood system of care. These are the fancy buzz words that so many organizations and policy groups across the nation use. So what does that really mean? Simply put, the supports weprovide to the children and families that we serve are the priority. It is the idea that we look beyond our individual programs, funded by different agencies and instead look holistically at children and families. How can we… make it make sense for children and families…and not just for funding sources?
We should be able to look into a high quality early childhood environment and know that the staff are adequately compensated for the care and developmental support they are providing during the most critical years of development in a child’s life. We should not be able to tell which kids receive comprehensive services through Head Start, which ones receive PreK funding, and which ones receive a childcare subsidy. It should all be about providing the best quality support we possibly can to the children of our state.
I am eager to learn and participate in these dialogues and efforts over the next five years.
I am hopeful that our agency can learn from the work that is taking place at the governmental level to look beyond individual agencies.
And I remain ever committed to the idea of systems designed to ensure the best possible outcomes for children and families.