The science of Early Brain Development shows us that supporting positive parent-child relationships buffers children from stress and promotes optimal development in the first 1,000 days. We hear from communities that this work with children and parents can be complicated by the many federal, state, and community initiatives, programs and policies. The science tells us that it is important to find young children as early as possible when they are experiencing challenges, sometimes that might even mean prenatally. Certainly by pre-school, struggling families should have a strong web of support around them that helps ensure their three-year-old is ready to be successful in their first out of home learning. There is strong interest, both at the state and community level, to build a coordinated community response that does a better job holding families who experience high stress levels so that they can thrive.
The WA FOI First 1,000 Days effort is attempting to answer these questions:
What will it take to get 1,000 Babies in 1,000 Days born in one or 2 different communities to thrive, regardless of the stress their families may have been experiencing at their birth?
How do we find them sooner, figure out which families need more support, target those supports, and track how the population is doing?
What can we learn and change across the multiple systems that are most involved with families?
What longer term issues may need to be addressed in policy and practice to demonstrate that we are using the science to collectively build stronger families and communities?