Addison County Regional Council Recap – March 2018

Darla Senecal
Addison & Rutland Region Coordinator
Building Bright Futures





Addison County has taken on the topic of resiliency and what it means for youth, including the very young. This idea was developed between the IFS group and BBF Council. Members of these groups come from the Health Dept., area school districts, the foster care system, childcare providers, the mental health community and beyond.

Addison County data about the well-being of our kids is worrisome—data is indicating that our kids are low in resiliency, low in optimism, and high in anxiety—ingredients for future mental health and substance abuse problems. The good news is we can teach kids to “bounce” back from adversity. Everyone has hard times—from daily smaller stressors to large life traumas—bad things happen.  The difference can be in our resilience.  Based on this data, Addison is launching a coordinated resiliency project.

An organizational meeting introducing the idea to the greater community was held on March 15th in Middlebury. Even with a tremendous snowstorm, participation and interest was great. The steering committee will now take this information gathered and plan the next steps. The idea is to have a multi-tiered, community-wide program to introduce to the community for the Fall. The resource being used for this work is: Building Resilience in Children and Teens – giving kids roots and wings by Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD.

The Council is also planning a training set for Aug. 22 (an in-service day) for area early educators based on the book produced by Addison County Parent Child Center “I’m Home – A manual for providing therapeutic child care.” This training will help to have those working across the early childhood field align with the same actions and dialog in helping students, giving youth a more consistent foundation for learning and behavior.

In an effort to support leadership in Addison County, BBF has created a pilot grant. Addison Building Bright Futures Early Childhood Council seeks to increase the skills and interest in administrative and collaborative leadership for early childcare and education professionals in Addison County. As the profession builds, we are in need of strong leaders in the field. Low salaries stand in the way of retaining qualified professionals and leaders in the Addison region. The goal of this pilot is to compensate professionals for building skills through a specific project that the community has recognized as a need.   We will be building leadership capacity within programs as well as strengthening our capacity to come together as a community to focus on our needs and goals, and take action in our region.

Project proposals are due to be turned into the BBF Regional Coordinator by April 6, 2018 and will be reviewed by BBF and the Addison Council. Some of the ideas for support are:

  • Developing a leadership class with CCV/Northern Lights
  • Parenting groups with a facilitator
  • Creation of an Excellence in Education survey to be distributed to area businesses to gather needs data.
  • Using the “I’m Home – A manual for providing therapeutic child care” to train individuals to share the information on a countywide basis.

At the March Addison BBF Meeting we discussed the need for follow up of the Showcase tours held in the fall. The council reflected on the fact that childcare is in great demand for 0-3 year olds, and while slots for 3-5 year olds are adequate, they may not be in the location or consist of the quality of style that is ideal for a family. The Council discussed creating a form to identify where the needs exist in terms of building child care capacity and cross walk them with what community resources might be available to meet those needs.

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