Over the past decade, Michigan has gradually increased the attention on building a strong early childhood system. In an effort to increase the effectiveness and impact of the Early Childhood System of Services, the state proceeded to form Great Start Collaboratives serving each county in Michigan. Great Start Collaborative – Oakland was formed January of 2006. Operating guidelines, an organizational structure, mission, vision and community partners were solidified in October 2006. Support from the Governor’s Office of Great Start, Early Childhood Investment Corporation, and Michigan State University have guided the work of our Great Start Collaborative.
Early childhood services are only part of the response to the Great Start call to action. Addressing root causes that interfere with childhood success means critically assessing and making changes to the “system” of services. Identifying system issues that create barriers is a focus of The ABLE change model and systems scanning process is the foundation of our planning efforts and includes six components:
« Mindsets: What attitudes, values, and beliefs impact young children in our community?
« Program Components: Do the range, quality, effectiveness, and location of services meet current needs?
« Connections: How can we improve relationships or increase connections across different early childhood services, businesses, community organizations, and other stakeholders?
« Policies: Do policies, practices, procedures, and daily routines support early childhood development and a coordinated system of services?
« Resources: How can the human, financial, and social resources that support young children and their families be used effectively and efficiently?
« Power: Are families and direct service providers involved in decisions? Is Great Start participation balanced and reflect the most vulnerable children in our community?
Diversity and Family Partnerships:
Many people and organizations play a role in ensuring the ALL young children have a GREAT START in life.
Great Start Collaborative - Oakland has a long history of strong community and family partnerships. This will continue to be a critical focus of our work. Great Start partners include families, services providers, and community members working together.
Comprehensive systems approach:
Research shows that educational success is increased by meeting all needs of the child and their family. Children need supportive conditions to succeed. Evidence of successful programs led the Office of Great Start focus on five component areas that should be addressed by Great Start Collaboratives. These five focus areas have been illustrated by the Great Start Star. Our subcommittee and work group structure has been centered on these important components.
The Strategic Plan
a result of the work that we see across the state of Michigan, the Office of
Great Start has established four key outcomes:
1) Children are born healthy
2) Children are healthy, thriving and developmentally on track birth to third grade
3) Children are developmentally ready to succeed school at their time of school entry
4) Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
In February 2014, Great Start members began the strategic planning process. The process was led by the co-coordinators along with evaluation and planning partners from Oakland University month planning process for input from collaborative members, families and community leaders. The planning process involved six key steps:
The Great Start Initiative is characterized by an emphasis on long term system changes.
Vision: A Great Start to ensure ALL children in Oakland County are safe, healthy, prepared and eager to success in school and in life
Mission: The purpose of the GSC-O is to assure a coordinated system of community resources and support whereby ALL Oakland County families have knowledge of and access to the services they need which will result in their children being prepared and eager to learn.
Guiding Principles: The strong foundation of the Great Start Collaborative - Oakland incorporates the guiding principles of the Office of Great Start which include:
· Children and families are our highest priority
· Parents and communities must have a voice in building and operating the system
· The children with greatest need must be served first
· Invest early
· Quality matters
· Efficiencies must be identified and implemented
· Opportunities to coordinate and collaborate must be identified and implemented
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